Monday, June 13, 2011

Pentecost: The Coming Of The Holy Spirit

Yesterday the Orthodox Church celebrated the Feast of Pentecost Sunday.

Before ascending into heaven, our Lord gave specific instructions to His Apostles: remain in Jerusalem and wait for “the Promise of the Father.” And just what was this “promise?” It was the gift of the Holy Spirit. The Book of Acts relates how after sharing an emotional farewell with their Master, the Apostles obediently went back to the same Upper Room where they had shared the Mystical Supper with Him. They waited for 10 long days for the fulfillment of God’s promise, and on the day of Pentecost, their patience was rewarded. With a rushing of a mighty wind and the appearance of tongues of fire, the Holy Spirit descended upon them! Thus the words of St. John the Baptist were made manifest concerning Christ: “He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” (Luke 3:16) The Holy Spirit filled the Apostles with a “burning desire” to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the whole world. These simple fishermen went out into the streets of Jerusalem and used their own tongues to communicate this important message to Jews from all over the world who had gathered there for this great festival. It is recorded that some 3,000 people were converted by them that very day, which we appropriately call the “birthday” of the Church. The Apostles were no longer frightened: they now believed that they had the strength to “Go and teach all nations” as Christ had commanded them to do.

The Feast of Pentecost reminds us that we too are expected to be “witness” for Christ as well. When we received the grace of the Holy Spirit on the day of our baptism, we were urged to follow the example of the Apostles and do our part in winning souls for our Saviour.
The Orthodox Weekly …… Vestal, Cliffwood, New Jersey …… Litho in U.S.A.

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