Easter is not one day or one solemnity—it is a fifty day celebration, and the fifty days from Easter Sunday to Pentecost Sunday together comprise what the General Instruction terms “the great Sunday”.
From apostolic times the feasts of Easter and Pentecost were primary, and the paschal mystery was the first celebration to have both a time before the feast of preparation and a time afterwards for the extension and completing the celebration.
The Sundays following Easter are no longer termed “after” for they are “of” Easter, since they do not follow a solemnity, but they are to be taken as a unity to form one season of solemnity and exaltation at the triumph of Jesus over sin and death.
In the former understanding of the season the feast of the Pentecost was set off because it had its own octave. In the reformed calendar this situation is remedied for the solemnity of the Ascension does not end the season of the feast of Pentecost now concludes the Easter season and the week between Ascension and Pentecost should be a time of preparation and expectation for the coming of the Spirit.
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