Holy Pentecost - Trinity Sunday

Gospel:John 7:37-52, 8:12

On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, "If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water." But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. Therefore many from the crowd, when they heard this saying, said, "Truly this is the Prophet." Others said, "This is the Christ." But some said, "Will the Christ come out of Galilee? Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the seed of David and from the town of Bethlehem, where David was?" So there was a division among the people because of Him. Now some of them wanted to take Him, but no one laid hands on Him. Then the officers came to the chief priests and Pharisees, who said to them, "Why have you not brought Him?" The officers answered, "No man ever spoke like this Man!" Then the Pharisees answered them, "Are you also deceived? Have any of the rulers or the Pharisees believed in Him? But this crowd that does not know the law is accursed." Nicodemus (he who came to Jesus by night being one of them) said to them, "Does our law judge a man before it hears him and knows what he is doing?" They answered and said to him, "Are you also from Galilee? Search and look, for no prophet has arisen out of Galilee."

Then Jesus spoke to them again saying, "I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life."

For Your Information (for further information and resources visit family.goarch.org)

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.

For Consideration

  • What is happening in this passage?
  • Why is there division among those present concerning Jesus Christ? Why did the chief priests and Pharisees want Him apprehended?
  • Why is this Gospel important to our lives?

To Do Together

  • Pentecost Mural - Create a mural illustrating the scene from the Acts of the Apostles 2:1-11. Imagine the scene and draw the vivid images - the strong wind and the tongues of fire that ignited the apostles in undertaking the evangelization of the world.
  • Fishers of Men - Look at the apolytikion of Pentecost below and discuss how you can be "fishers of men" working as contemporary apostles.

Blessed are You, O Christ our God, who made fishermen all-wise, sending down upon them the Holy Spirit, and through them drawing al the world into Your net. O Loving One, glory to you.

- Apolytikion of Pentecost

  • Prayer to the Holy Spirit - Gather as a family, especially during the eight days that we celebrate this feast, and offer the following prayer to the Holy Spirit:

O Heavenly King, the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, Who art present everywhere and fills all things; Treasury of blessings and Giver of life; come and abide in us and cleanse us from every stain, and save our souls, O Gracious One.

Final Thought

When Orthodox Christians confess, "I believe in one - APOSTOLIC church," apostolic does not refer only to apostolic succession. More importantly, it implies having an apostolic fire and zeal to preach the gospel, 'to every creature' (Mk 16:15), because it nurtures its members so that they may become 'witness in Jerusalem and in Judea and Samaria, to the end of the earth' (Acts 1:8). - Archbishop Anastasios of Tirana, Durres, and All Albania

A Closing Prayer

When the Most High came down and confused the tongues of men, He divided the Nations. When He dispersed the Tongues of Fire, He called all to unity, and with one voice we glorify the Most Holy Spirit.

- Kontakion of Pentecost

For Further Information

  • Missionaries, Monks, and Martyrs: Making Disciples of All Nations by Luke Veronis - This select survey of inspiring missionaries attempts to offer a taste of the rich missionary tradition of the Orthodox Church. It includes missionaries from the early church to the twenteith century. Published by Light and Life Publishing.
  • Reaching for the Fruits:Helping Children to Grow Spiritually by Angeline Eliakopoulos - Teach your children the virtues that come from the grace of the Holy Spirit. Published by Destro Publishers.
  • Feast of Holy Pentecost - This excellent overview of the feast includes information on the Bible story, the icon, the Orthodox celebration of the Feast, and hymns. Availible at www.goarch.org/special/listen_learn_share/pentecost.

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