Divine Liturgy on Holy Pentecost
Today we celebrate the Feast of Pentecost, which happened and is always celebrated 50 days after the Resurrection of our Lord. At Pentecost, the disciples received the Holy Spirit as tongues of fire, fulfilling the promise that Christ had given them while He was still with them. This spirit was the Comforter who would lead them into the fullness of the Truth concerning God and would be for them their final preparatory gift from God for their ministry. As Orthodox Christians we each receive the seal of the Holy Spirit when we are chrismated into the Faith. This is our personal Pentecost. This feast reminds us of our apostolic calling as baptized and chrismated members of the Church—to spread the Gospel in word and deed wherever we happen to find ourselves in the world.
Because the main passage from the New Testament for this feast is from the Acts of the Apostles and is read as the Epistle during the Divine Liturgy, the Gospel reading quoted above, spoken during Jesus’ public ministry while the Jews were celebrating the feast of the Tabernacles, serves as a commentary on the Epistle. After summoning those who would follow Him and promising them the coming of the Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ’s divinity is in question as several voices debate the issue. It is probably safe to assume that the majority in the crowd that day were seeking the Messiah and a prophet to lead them out of Roman oppression. However, Jesus Christ’s role was not one of political freedom fighter. He is God incarnate and brings freedom to liberate humanity from sin, the devil, and death. We are called to witness our faith in Christ as Lord in the midst of a world that may strongly disagree and persecute us for our convictions. Yet those who choose to know the Light will be brought to Him through our living the light of the Gospel and will find in our heartfelt words the living water of the Spirit.
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