Sunday of Pentecost (Byzantine Rite) – 07 June 2020

Troparion — Tone 8

Blessed art You O Christ Our God, You have revealed the fishermen as most wise, By sending down upon them the Holy Spirit, Through them You drew the world into Your net, O Lover of Man, Glory to You!

Kontakion — Tone 8

When the most High came down and confused the tongues,  He divided the nations; But when he distributed the tongues of fire, He called all to unity. Therefore, with one voice, we glorify the All-holy Spirit!

Reading from the Book of Numbers (part 1)

So the LORD said to Moses: “Gather to Me seventy men of the elders of Israel, whom you know to be the elders of the people and officers over them; bring them to the tabernacle of meeting, that they may stand there with you.

Then I will come down and talk with you there. I will take of the Spirit that is upon you and will put the same upon them; and they shall bear the burden of the people with you, that you may not bear it yourself alone.

So Moses went out and told the people the words of the LORD, and he gathered the seventy men of the elders of the people and placed them around the tabernacle.

Then the LORD came down in the cloud, and spoke to him, and took of the Spirit that was upon him, and placed the same upon the seventy elders; and it happened, when the Spirit rested upon them, that they prophesied, although they never did so again.

But two men had remained in the camp: the name of one was Eldad, and the name of the other Medad. And the Spirit rested upon them. Now they were among those listed, but who had not gone out to the tabernacle; yet they prophesied in the camp.

And a young man ran and told Moses, and said, “Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp.”

So Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ assistant, one of his choice men, answered and said, “Moses my lord, forbid them!”

Then Moses said to him, “Are you zealous for my sake? Oh, that all the LORD’s people were prophets and that the LORD would put His Spirit upon them.

~Chapter: 11 Verses: 16-17 and Verses: 24-29 

Reading from the Book of Joel (part 2)

Be glad then, you children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God; for He has given you the former rain faithfully, and He will cause the rain to come down for you – the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month.

The threshing floors shall be full of wheat, and the vats shall overflow with new wine and oil.

“So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the crawling locust, the consuming locust, and the chewing locust, My great army which I sent among you.

You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, Who has dealt wondrously with you; and My people shall never be put to shame.

Then you shall know that I am in the midst of Israel: I am the Lord your God and there is no other. My people shall never be put to shame.

And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions.

and also on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days.

And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth: blood and fire and pillars of smoke.

The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord.

And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the Name of the Lord shall be saved. For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be deliverance, as the Lord has said, among the remnant whom the Lord calls.

~Chapter: 2 Verses: 23-32 

Reading from the Book of Ezekiel (part 3)

“For I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land.

“Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols.

“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.

“I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.

“Then you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; you shall be My people, and I will be your God.

~Chapter: 36 Verses: 24-28 

Reading from the Book of John

Then, the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, “Peace be with you.”

When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.

So Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.”

And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.

If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

~Chapter: 20 Verses: 19-23 

Reading from the Gospel of the Book of Acts

When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.

And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.

Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them.

And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven.

And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language.

Then they were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, “Look, are not all these who speak Galileans?

And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born?

Parthians and Medes and Elamites, those dwelling in Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia,

Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya adjoining Cyrene, visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes,

Cretans and Arabs – we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God.”

~Chapter: 2 Verses: 1-11 


     In the span of less than three months government parties clash, natural disasters cause chaos and illness, religious and government establishments are vandalized, looted, and temples desecrated, statues are pulled down, abused prisoners escape in chaos as crowds demand their release, and a small group of friends mourn the loss of their dearest teacher and are equally stunned by a miracle . These words could be speaking of today and events pulled from headlines right now, but they aren’t, these are events in and around Jerusalem at the time of Pentecost.  The “First Christians” are about to see another wonder more powerful than the even the resurrection. As the walking spirit of Christ prepares to return to heaven, the gifts of the Holy Spirit are preparing to flow into the Apostles so the Sacraments needed for the new covenants can begin.

  Amongst broken hearted, frightened, mourning, some physically unwell, persecuted, unsure of their future, friends and followers, the world changes. As the fire of the Holy Spirit now resides within this strangest of assemblies, they are in the darkest of times. Their friends had been arrested, threatened, killed, a few disappeared, some committed suicide, and one shining light did the impossible.

  We do not have the advantage of a physical manifestation of Risen Christ in the room beside us as we suffer many of these same problems. Our ability to even gather to discuss what it meant to do so is limited by current disease and strife. It is not without hope, because of the first Pentecost, each liturgical year we can experience the joy and wonder that the Holy Spirit imparted to us as Christ rose to his true station. This feast of Pentecost is called the last great feast, because it was the last time the apostles would see Christ, and the last time they themselves were not the ones responsible for the feeding of the souls of everyone who would come to believe. But for each believer it is the first of feasts, it is from this source that each of our Sacraments flow, and in seeking them out together, now as was then, the answers to the strife of the world outside can be answered in glorious light and fire. Let us know that the gospel is living and relevant as ever today and light the fires as is the custom to welcome what must come to bring us all out of darkness into sacramental light.


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