Reminder – Pentecost is this Sunday (new calendar): Byzantines, remember to wear the green. The tradition of wearing green on Pentecost is mostly a Slavic tradition, but it is one that we all can embrace because of green being a symbol of new life in the Holy Trinity.
Our celebration of Pentecost –the coming of the Holy Spirit promised by Jesus before He ascended to the Father– is a constant reminder of our own ” baptism by the Holy Spirit” (Acts 1 :5)
St. John Chrysostom (d . 407) admonished the faithful of his time not to celebrate the feast superficially, only adorning their homes with garlands (flowers), but rather spiritually adorning their souls with virtues in order to be more able to receive abundant fruits of the Holy Spirit (II Homily on Pentecost).
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life.” Only after Jesus has shown the hurt to be unspeakable, then and not before does he make the instruction stricter. He not only asks us to cast away what we have but also forbids us to take thought even for the food we need, saying, “Take no thought for your life, what you shall eat,” not because the soul needs food, for it is incorporeal. He spoke figuratively. For though the soul as such needs no food, it cannot endure to remain in the body unless the body is fed. (St. John Chrysostom)
As always, God With Us Online, there are several things to help us go deeper in knowing and following the Scripture we hear at the Divine Liturgy. So, at the link above for the resources there is a very brief piece on the Domestic Church (the church at home) by Melkite Deacon Thomas Moses. Most importantly listen to the Gospel reflection.
“Blessed are You, O Christ our God who revealed the fishermen as most wise by sending them the Holy Spirit; through them You caught the entire world. Loving Master, glory to you.”
Pentecost Pastoral of the Ukrainian Catholic Hierarchy of the U.S.A.
To our Clergy, Hieromonks and Brothers, Religious Sisters,
Seminarians, and Beloved Faithful
Glory to Jesus Christ!
Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ!
We greet you on the joyous feast of Pentecost, the birth of the Church, and the rebirth of nature. This year, Pentecost coincides with an apparent decline of the pandemic and a loosening of quarantine restrictions. We are enabled to celebrate the birth and renewal of the Church by again attending Divine services —if not today then, by God’s grace, tomorrow. Having conscientiously endured restrictions on interpersonal encounters and interactions we hope to be together in prayer and in the Descent of the Holy Spirit Who comes to us. Our hope is real, and it is being realized. Saying “Happy Birthday” to our Mother-Church, born out of the gift of the Holy Spirit, we are also privileged to observe how life returns to our houses of worship as they refill with people, our chants, incense, and candlelight.
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The Holy Spirit is among us!
This week vigil light is offered to God’s glory by Judith Pond in memory of Anna Lipcan.
Every Sunday you can watch live on parish Facebook at 10:30 Divine Liturgy in Ukrainian languages. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/stmichaelnewhaven
The Liturgy is also posted here on the parish website.
The Panachyda Service at the gravesites will take place TODAY, May 31st at 1:00 p.m. at St. Lawrence Cemetery. Please call the rectory office for appointment. For Panachyda Service at other cemeteries please call the rectory.
“Blessed are You, O Lord, for giving us fishermen most wise, sending down upon them the Holy Spirit. Thereby they catch the universe of mankind in the net of salvation. Glory to You, most merciful Lord.” (from the Tropar of the Feast)
On the fiftieth day after Christ’s Resurrection, the Church celebrates the Descent of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles (see Acts 2:1-4). This sending of the Holy Spirit signals the fulfillment of God’s condescension to creation, a condescension that began at the creation of the world. In the Holy Spirit, God offers himself to the human race. This gift of God’s life is always a blessing for us, and thus we refer to it as grace. The gift of the Holy Spirit gives us the opportunity to become partakers of God’s nature, to be divinized, to enter into the communion of the Persons of the Most Holy Trinity. The Holy Spirit fills creation with his grace and perfects it in accordance with God’s plan: “God’s Spirit was to spiritualize the darkness of matter, to illuminate it, and to draw it into the sphere of God’s life.”
Today, May 6, in the Byzantine Church following the Gregorian calendar, it is the feast of half-Pentecost (half of the Pascal Time). Now is the time to think about what gift of the Holy Spirit you are going to ask for (there are 7).
Let’s attend to the Gospel text of today (John 7: 14-30):
verse: 14: We were already in the middle of the week of the feast when Jesus went up to the Temple; and there he was teaching.
verse 15: The Jews were astonished and said, “How is he educated without studying?”
verse 16: Jesus answered them, ” My teaching is not from me, but from Him who sent me.
verse 17: Does anyone want to do the will of God, he will know if this teaching comes from God, or if I speak on my own initiative.”
Pentecost is the fiftieth day, “the last and greatest day of the feast.” In the New Testament, this story is told only in the Acts of the Holy Apostles (Acts 2:1-12). On this day, the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples in the form, “as of fire” and they were filled with the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:3) From this event, some observations can be made:
-This fulfills the promise made by the risen Jesus in the Gospel of Luke, “And[behold I am sending the promise of my Father upon you; but stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.” (Luke 24:49)
-This was in the upper room, where the risen Lord came to the disciples through locked doors.
Saint Gregory of Nazianzus says of the Holy Spirit’s appearance as a dove at Christ’s baptism:
And the Spirit comes as a dove, for he honours the body being seen “corpreally”, since He is also God by divinization. And since long ago the dove has been accustomed to announcing the good news of the flood’s end.
– Oration on the Holy Lights, 381 A.D.