Homily for the Monday of the Holy Spirit
Greek Orthodox Church of the Holy Trinity
New Rochelle, New York
June 21, 2021
Beloved sisters and brothers in Christ,
This Holy Spirit Monday is the feast par excellence of the Holy Trinity and the public holiday of your parish. Although in truth each day is the feast of our Triune God, for all creation, and every moment, praises and exalts the Creator, the Redeemer and the Sanctifier of the world.
Like all the feasts that follow major events: the Synaxis of the Virgin, on Boxing Day; and the Synaxis of Archangel Gabriel, March 26; this Holy Spirit Monday follows Pentecost. But the descent of the Holy Spirit into the tongues of fire both concludes the saving ministry of the Son of God – its economy – and also begins the continuing ministry of the salvation of the world. For the Spirit, which proceeds from the Father,[*] is distributed worldwide at the request of the Son.
And this is something that I would like to emphasize today: that the Holy Spirit is present among us, because our Lord Jesus Christ willed it. He even said it to his disciples:
“If you love me, keep my commandments, and I will ask the Father to give you yet another advocate – the Paraclete – to stay with you forever. “[†]
The Lord knew that his presence among us – in his divinely embodied form – would always be localized. To be “everywhere present and filling all things” is not a property of the human being, who is singular and always located in space and time. Even before his passion, the Lord fully understood that for the effects of his saving death and resurrection to take root on earth and transform life as we know it, there had to be “another paraclete”.
And the Paraclete, whose praises we sing today, is revealed in and through the Church – the Body of Believers.
This is why we invoke the Person of the Holy Trinity on the Holy Gifts of Bread and Wine so that he becomes the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.
This is why we invoke the Holy Spirit on the waters of Baptism and of, to sanctify the most essential element of biological life, and to make it the support and foundation of our spiritual life.
This is why we invoke the Holy Spirit on the oil – ἐπί ἔλαιον, in order to receive healing and forgiveness.
Through the Holy Spirit – in all places and times of history – the presence of God is manifested through these precious Mysteries of the Church. But there is more.
The Lord said, “If you love me, keep my commandments, and I will ask…. His request to the Father in our name is linked to our love for him and our respect for his commandments. And what is his greatest commandment?
This is my command, that you love one another as I have loved you.[‡]
My beloved friends:
If we are serious about our Faith and our Church;
If we truly believe that the Church is the living Body of Christ;
If we trust that the Eucharist is the risen Body of Christ;
And if we trust what our Lord Jesus Christ told us on the night he gave himself up for the life of the world:
So our lives should be full of love, compassion, understanding, mercy and forgiveness for one another – especially for those who hate us, oppose us, criticize us and curse us.
Then, and only then, can we say with confidence that the Holy Spirit dwells in us, for the proof – or the fruit – of the Spirit is to love as Christ loved – without condition, reservation or measure.
“Love one another as I have loved you.”
It is the life of the Holy Spirit, who will grant us the power, the ability, and the will to do this, if we will only ask it.
Therefore, let us ask our Lord, as he asked his Father, that the Spirit fill our hearts, souls and thoughts with the knowledge of the love of God for the world, as well as for each of us. , so that we can love one another and follow the way of all of his commandments.
[*] John 15:26, παρὰ; the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed, ἐκ τοῦ Πατρὸς ἐκπορευόμενον.