Holy Trinity Day, Pentecost. On the Unity of the Church


John 7:37–52, 8, 12

Today we commemorate the day when the Holy Spirit descended on the first disciples of Christ. And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance (Acts 2:1–4).

The apostles received not only the gift of tongues, but also other promised gifts: In my name they will cast out demons… They will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will be well (Mk.16:17–18).

Similar gifts have been given to people before. Yesterday, for example, at the evening service, we heard how God sent His Spirit to seventy men chosen by Moses. And when the Spirit of God rested on Elisha, he was able to divide the waters of the Jordan, and cleanse people from leprosy, and even raise the dead. And the Apostles themselves, even before Pentecost, cast out demons, and could bring fire down from heaven, and perform other miracles.

But at Pentecost a great and unprecedented thing happened. On this day, the Holy Spirit did not descend to perform any work of God's Providence. Yesterday at Matins we heard the words that the Lord had never said to anyone before: As the Father sent Me, so I send you. Having said this, he breathed on them, and said to them: Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose soever sins you forgive, they are forgiven; whose soever sins you retain, they are retained (John 20:21–23).

And today He addresses all those to whom He sent his Apostles: If any man thirst, let him come to me, and drink. He that believes on me, as the scripture says, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this he said of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive (Jn. 7:37–39).

The Holy Spirit was poured out on the elders of Israel to give the people wise judges. He descended on the prophet Jonah to turn away from sin the inhabitants of the city of Nineveh. And on Pentecost, the Holy Spirit was poured out in order to lay the foundation of the One Holy Catholic Apostolic Church on earth.

Therefore, He was poured out only on the disciples of Christ, on those who were united and stayed in the same room, under the same roof, in a single prayerful aspiration to God. So, the Holy Spirit descended only on one single day, in one single place. A single source of living water has opened on earth, designed to give the whole thirsty universe to drink.

One day, before Pentecost, the Apostle John asked: Teacher! we have seen a man who casts out demons in your name and does not follow us; and we have forbidden him, because he does not follow us" (Mark 9:38). The Lord then replied: ‘Don't forbid him.’

Now, the Holy Spirit is given only through those who received it at Pentecost, either through their prayers (Acts 8:15), or during their preaching—as in the case of Cornelius the centurion—or immediately after baptism. Why is there only one such source? Certainly, because God is One, and the way to Him can only be one. So that those who are thirsty know where to go; so that those who have, can give in simplicity of heart; and those who do not have, receive without doubt. And when the successor of the Apostles, that is, a bishop or a priest, anointed us after baptism with Holy myrrh, with the words “the seal of the gift of the Holy Spirit,” we received the same grace as the Apostles.

This gift is in us, it is a seed filled with life-giving power. It will sprout and bear the fruits of the Spirit, the same as in the Apostles, if only we would take the trouble to make the earth of our soul less cold and dry.

Think of what a treasure we carry within us, and what a terrible responsibility lies on us if the Sower comes and sees this treasure in neglect, among all uncleanness! Think what a terrible misfortune it will be if the Holy Spirit, with His heavenly gifts, remains on His Own, and we are on our own, with our passions, with our vanity; if earthly life flies by, but heavenly life does not begin?

O Heavenly King, cleanse us from all impurity and save our souls O Good One!

Archpriest Viacheslav Reznikov
Translation by Igumen Seraphim (Bell)



Arcipreste Rafael de Queiroz6/4/2023 9:54 pm
Excellent !!!
ershan Joseph6/4/2023 9:07 pm
Happy HOLY TRINITY (Pentecost ) DAY for all Orthodox Christians
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