Gospel Reading June 19th (John 7:37-52, 8:12): Sunday of Pentecost

On the Sunday of Pentecost we hear in the Gospel reading how Jesus stood up on “the last day of the feast, the great day” and He gave a great promise to all who believe in Him: “Out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water” (v. 38). St. John the Evangelist goes on to explain that Christ’s words here refer to the promise of the Holy Spirit which “in the last days shall be poured out on all flesh” after the glorification of Christ, as foretold by the Prophet Joel (Joel 2:28).

On the day of Pentecost the promise is fulfilled, and the Spirit descends upon the Apostles with the sound as of a mighty rushing wind and divided tongues as of fire (Acts 2: 2-3). In the new age of the Church which began on that day, the words of Christ likening the Spirit to rivers of living water and the light of life are fulfilled.

The grace of the Spirit is like living water which is always active, always energizing, a river springing from a gushing well that is never exhausted. The grace of the Spirit is the living water that flowed through the wisdom of Stephen, the tongue of Peter, the vehemence of Paul, against which no obstacle could stand as they washed all away before them like mighty rivers. The flaming light of the Spirit revealed the Apostles as heavenly lights set above the whole world, carrying the words of eternal life, and through whom the world was illuminated.

And as the light of a single burning lamp is passed on to other lamps in succession without diminishing, so the light of the Holy Spirit has been passed on through the ages and enlightens all the faithful. This day of Pentecost which we relive every year is a feast of the divine Spirit, Who of His unimaginable love descended for our salvation, just as the only-begotten Son of God, because of this same love and for the same purpose, bowed the heavens, came down and assumed our flesh.

Source: Lychnos June / July 2016