Pentecost Sermon

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ our blessed Saint Nikolaj Velimirovic makes the following commentary on today’s Gospel and Apostle.

“When a seed is sown, the power of warmth and light must come on it to make it grow.

When a tree is planted, the power of the wind must come on it, to make it strong and establish it.

When a householder builds a house, he seeks the power of prayer, to consecrate his house.

God the Son sowed the Tree of Life in the wild, uncultivated fields of death. The powerful whirlwind of the Spirit was needed to breathe on it, to establish the Tree of Life.

The pre-eternal wisdom of God has made itself abodes from the chosen souls of men. And the Spirit of God’s power and wisdom was needed to come down into this abode and consecrate it.

The divine Bride groom had chosen his bride, the Church of pure souls, and the Spirit of eternal joy was needed to come down to join heaven and earth with a ring, and clothe the Bride with wedding garments.”

In today’s Gospel reading Christ says three profound things. The first is “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.” The second is “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” Then finally, “I am the light of world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness.”

These three statements of the Lord show us his love, concern and care for us.

In each of these statements our Lord is referring to His sending of the Holy Spirit.

In the first two of these statements our Lord refers to the Holy Spirit as water. Saint Cyril of Jerusalem says that Christ refers to the Holy Spirit as water “Because all things are dependent on water; plants and animals have their origin in water. Water comes down from Heaven as rain, and although it is always the same in itself, it produces many different effects,….It does not come down, now as one thing, now as another , but while remaining essentially the same, it adapts itself to the needs of every creature that receives it. In the same way the Holy Spirit, whose nature is always the same, simple and indivisible, apportions grace to each man as He wills.”

Each of us have different gifts but, they are all the same because they come from the same source. Saint Paul speaks to this when he says “Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.” (1 Corinthians 12:4)

The purpose of these gifts is to make God known in this world. This is illustrated in today’s Gospel when Christ says “I am the light of world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness.”

Saint Symeon the New Theologian discusses how this phrase relates to the Holy Spirit in his Mystic Treatises 59. “As a lamp, although it is full of oil and has a wick, remains dark unless it is lit with fire, so the soul is quenched and dark until it is touched by the light and grace of the Holy Spirit.”

In the Gospel of Saint John it says “But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceeds from the Father, he shall testify of me:” (John 15:26) Thus, Christ enlightens the world by sending the fire of the Holy Spirit into the world.

We need to use the gifts that are given to us by the Holy Spirit to enlighten the world around us. This is the meaning of the phrase in the Gospel of Saint Matthew, “Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it gives light unto all that are in the house.” (Matthew 5:15)

So my dear brothers and sisters in Christ my prayer for you is that you may take the gifts that were given to you by the living water of the Holy Spirit that you may use these gifts to enlighten the world with the fire of the Holy spirit.

Amen

Delivered by Fr. Milan Medakovic at Holy Trinity Serbian Orthodox Church, Youngstown Ohio on Pentecost 2009.

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