Welcoming the Spirit of Truth


Through the hymns of the Orthodox Church we discover constant referencing to the Old Testament. In fact, many times, we hear verses directly taken from the Old Testament, especially the Psalms, and often times we hear of figures and events from the Old Testament referenced in the hymns. When we take a moment to consider this we realize that there is a seamless continuation from the Old Testament to the New because we believe that Jesus Christ not only bridges the two sections of Holy Scripture, but fulfills the Prophecies and provides for us the assurance of eternal life.

Having so recently celebrated Pascha we know that, ‘death no longer has dominion over us.’ In the Old Testament we read of the Passover when the spirit of death passes over the Jewish families who have marked the lintel of their homes with the blood of a sacrificed lamb. As Christians we celebrate the new Pascha, the new Passover, when the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, is crucified, entombed, and resurrects on the third day. The new Passover now destroys death and provides for believers eternal life.

In a similar fashion, we celebrate today the feast of Pentecost. In the Old Testament, the Jews celebrated the feast of Pentecost, Shavuot, which was originally a festival of the first fruits of the wheat harvest and later becoming associated with the giving of the Law to Moses by God. This feast takes place fifty days after the Old Testament Passover. We celebrate Pentecost this Sunday marking the harvest of the first fruits by the fulfillment of the promise of Christ to send the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, to his followers.

The first fruits of Christ’s followers are His disciples. They are empowered by the grace of the Holy Spirit who rests as tongues of fire upon them to go out into the world as His apostles to bring the message of hope in the Risen Christ and of God’s eternal love. They are empowered and emboldened to take this message to all peoples having received through the grace of the Holy Spirit the gift to speak in new tongues. Christ’s followers were ecstatic with the opportunity to share the Good News with people in their own languages.

Jesus’ message has always been that of salvation realized in God’s hope and love. In hearing this message today, we are called to open our hearts to Him and through the grace of the Holy Spirit experience God’s love. In so doing, our faith will thrive. As Jesus tells us in Sunday’s Gospel, "If any one thirsts, let him come to me and drink. He who believes in me, as the scripture has said, 'Out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water.' “(Jn 7:37)

We pray today that the Holy Spirit comes down upon us. The question that remains…How thirsty are we to learn of Christ and our faith? How committed are we to follow the path of the apostles to, not only, speak of the truth of Christ, but to live in His loving embrace?