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May 27th, 2012

What is Pentecost?

What is Pentecost

Pentecost is the great festival that marks the birth of the Christian church by the power of the Holy Spirit. Pentecost means “fiftieth day” and is celebrated fifty days after Easter. The word Pentecost is Greek and comes from the word for 50. Pentecost is all about getting empowered by the Holy Spirit.

Pentecost is also called Whitsunday. Pentecost came to be the favored time for baptisms when the newly baptized wore white, for which reason the holiday is called White Sunday or Whitsunday. Pentecost is held to be the birthday of the Christian Church.

What happened on Pentecost?

Ten days after Jesus ascended into heaven, the twelve apostles, Jesus’ mother and family, and many other of His disciples gathered together in Jerusalem for the Jewish harvest festival that was celebrated on the fiftieth day after Passover. While they were indoors praying, a sound like that of a rushing wind filled the house and tongues of fire descended and rested over each of their heads. This was the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on human flesh promised by God through the prophet Joel (Joel 2:28-29).

The disciples were suddenly empowered to proclaim the gospel of the risen Christ. They went out into the streets of Jerusalem and began preaching to the crowds gathered for the festival. Not only did the disciples preach with boldness and vigor, but by a miracle of the Holy Spirit they spoke in the native languages of the people present, many who had come from all corners of the Roman Empire. This created a sensation. The apostle Peter seized the moment and addressed the crowd, preaching to them about Jesus’ death and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins. The result was that about three thousand converts were baptized that day. (You can read the Biblical account of Pentecost in Acts 2:1-41).

Pentecost : The Third Christian Mega-Festival

There are three “mega-festivals” commemorated in the Christian calendar. The first two, Christmas and Easter, are well-known to both believers and non-believers. But it’s possible that even liturgical Christians may not be as familiar with the third, the festival of Pentecost. God the Father’s wonderful Christmas gift of His one and only Son, and Christ’s Easter triumph over the power of sin, death, and the devil would be of no benefit to us if the Holy Spirit did not give us the gift of saving faith.

Through the Word and Sacraments, the Holy Spirit gives us the faith to believe and trust in Christ as our Savior. This precious gift of faith in the saving work of our Lord Jesus Christ is the reason Pentecost is the third “mega-festival” of the church and why we celebrate it with such joy and thanksgiving.

January 16th, 2012

The Holy Trinity

The Holy Trinity

It is impossible for us to know all about God, because He is totally beyond our understanding. The only way to know God is for God to reveal himself to us. Ever since God created man in his own image and likeness, man has been creating God in man’s own image and likeness. Some of the attributes humans apply to God are downright false, and an affront to Him.

However, God has revealed himself partially to genuine seekers. There have been great sages who were searchers, and to them God has revealed some of His aspects. For example, Indian sages have concluded that God is satchitanandanityaparipoorna, that He is a being, intelligent, bliss, eternal and perfect. In the Gayatri Mantra, God is described as the support of our life, destroyer of pain, bestower of happiness, shining like the sun, unique, destroyer of evil, and divine intelligence.

Through Jesus Christ, God has revealed something astonishing about His inner life: that He is not a solitary individual, but a community, a community of three distinct persons who are equal and yet one through love. This inner life of God is known as the Holy Trinity. To distinguish these three divine persons from one another, one is called Father, the other Son, and the third Spirit. This is a tremendous and amazing revelation about God’s inner life, an aspect which we would not have been able to discover through our limited intelligence.

This unique revelation implies many things. God’s inner life is full of activity, the Father is turned towards the Son, the Son turned towards the Father, and the Love between them being another person known as the Spirit. The Father is outgoing, the Son is outgoing, the Spirit too is outgoing; reaching out in love everywhere and always. God reaches out to His creation, especially to humans. The Son becomes a human being in Jesus, and the Spirit hovers over the earth, especially guiding, inspiring and strengthening humans everywhere.

Also Read The Trinity Explained

The Holy Trinity thus becomes the model for all relationships, especially for every community, every family, every assembly. The quality of our life depends on the quality of our relationships, and if our relationships are modeled on the Trinity (three different persons, yet equal and related to each other in perfect love) life becomes a joyful and pleasant experience. Love is to be always outgoing, love is sharing, love is respectful, and between lovers there is equality.

The Trinity emphasizes that solitariness is hell and that individualistic selfishness is a curse, unbecoming of any human being. We are born to foster relationships. From the moment we are born, we are related to our mother, father, siblings, grandparents, cousins and the extended family. We are to grow in this relationship, reaching out beyond our extended family. We are to establish relationships with all people, castes, races and nations – which should lead to fellowship, understanding, mutual help and well-being. We are to create a family of nations.

No man is an island, and we all belong to the family of man, and to the family of God. The Son became man that we might become divine. If we understand this and accept it, there would be no more wars, corruption, and exploitation. This is the challenge that the Holy Trinity places before us – be like God, become divine! Becoming divine is an invitation to love, sharing, communion, community, self-communication and joy in giving and receiving. Praise and glory to the Holy Trinity!

Because we are created in the image and likeness of the Holy Trinity, we tend to create communities: families, associations, clubs etc. We try to reach out to others. But then sin comes in and destroys everything. Selfishness, lust, avarice, jealousy destroy whatever we try to build. We have to overcome sin if we want to be constructive.

The doctrine of the Trinity enables to understand how Jesus, a human being could also be divine, the Son of God. The Son became man without losing his Sonship, his divinity. This is very well expressed in the Preface of the Mass for the feast of the Holy Trinity: “You are one God, one Lord, not in the unity of one person, but in the Trinity of one substance. For what you have revealed to us of your glory we believe equally of your Son and of the Holy Spirit, so that, in the confessing of the true and eternal Godhead, you might be adored in what is proper to each Person, their unity in substance, and their equality in majesty”.

Let us pray the Prayer to The Holy Trinity

– – – written by Fr. George Kureethra

September 3rd, 2011

How To Walk In The Holy Spirit

Walk in the holy spirit

“…do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God…” (Ephesians 4:30)

No one in his right mind will ever try to hurt a child. Rather we try comforting a disturbed child and we love seeing the child giving a toothless smile! Similarly no one who loves God will deliberately try to hurt His Spirit. However the Scripture exhorts us not to grieve the Holy Spirit. That doesn’t mean He is so touchy. No! The truth is, He is so strong and powerful.

Holy Spirit is the One who brooded over darkness and brought forth a beautifully recreated earth. He is the One who breathed on the valley of dry bones and raised up a mighty army. He is the One who came mightily upon the 120 in the upper room in Jerusalem and inaugurated the church era with a sweeping harvest of 3000 souls! He isn’t touchy!

But why does the Scripture asks us not to grieve the Holy Spirit? It is because He is gentle. He is not like the devil who comes into a place without being invited or breaks in without permission. On the contrary, the Holy Spirit comes when you invite Him to come in. He moves away when you resist Him. Yes, He is sovereign. But this is His nature. This is not His weakness. This is His uniqueness!

Holy Spirit is the One who takes us home when Christ comes a second time. He is the seal that God placed on us that we might escape the eternal fires of hell. He is given the charge of guiding us daily in all truth. He protects us from the devil and all his wicked schemes. However all these happen only if we allow Him! If we grieve Him, we are in fact tying His hands from helping us out.

How does someone grieve the Holy Spirit? It’s when one turns from following God’s Word and starts walking in selfish ways. It may be a seemingly simple thing like gossiping. Or it may be prayerlessness or neglecting fellowship with fellow believers. It may be hidden sins or outright rebellion. It may even be following Jesus with ungodly motives!

It is true that God is all-powerful. But He has given you a role in working with Him in order to fulfil His plans on this earth, in your life, and in eternity. And for that, He wants you to stay away from anything that grieves the Holy Spirit.

As you do so, you will begin to sense the sweet presence of the Holy Spirit on your life. His anointing will begin to flow on you and seemingly impossible things will suddenly become possible and doable. Even people who associate with you will sense it and be blessed by it.

Now is your time to walk in the Holy Spirit!

– – – written by Joe Abraham

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