Meditation on the Pentecost Sunday

Meditation for Sunday of the Pentecost (St. John 16:1-15 - originally posted in ICON) Gospel reading for Pentecost Sunday’s third kneeling comes from the book of St. John Ch. 16 vs. 1 -15. This passage talks about Jesus’ promise of the gift of the Holy Spirit. The word used in Greek to denote the H. Spirit in v.7 is Paracletos (paraklhtoV). RSV translates the word as ‘counselor’ and in Bible Society’s English Bible it is ‘comforter’ as also in American Standard Version. In New Living Translation, it is ‘Advocate’. In Malayalam Bible it is karyasthan (overseer of steward). In Orthodox Bible it is ‘Helper’ with big H denoting its divinity. Syriac Bible has made the paracletos a Syriac word without caring to translate. We may look for the meaning and relevance of the Greek word in this meditation. The fact that the word is translated differently in different versions itself speaks loud to us of the richness of the word used by St. John. The word does not give away itself to be easily translated into other languages. The same word is used in John 15:26. In 14:16, which is part of the text for evening Gospel reading, Jesus talks about “Spirit of Truth”. This Spirit is the Holy Spirit. Here truth and paracletos are related. If we read Ch. 14 which is read entirely at different hours of the day, we could understand what kind of relationship is there between God the Father and God the Son as made clear by Jesus and also in relation to the Paracletos. The Paracletos is sent by the Son, but it is given by the Father (14:16). This clearly justifies our version of the Nicene-Constantinoplean creed, which says, ‘the H. Spirit proceeds (only) from the Father’ and not from the Father and the Son as the Western Churches would argue. Of course we receive the Spirit from the Son. Paracletos is the Holy Spirit (14:16, 26). So what ever we talk about Paracletos will be applicable to the H. Spirit too. Paracletos as said earlier is a word pregnant with meanings. It helps, it consoles, it encourages, it mediates and it advocates. This word can be used in the context of a mother caring for and helping a child grow up. In this context, taking the analogy seriously, we may say that Paracletos helps us grow up. Growth of human has to be in perfect truth. This is contrasted by the state of the world which is full of falsehood represented in the attitude of the leaders of Jewish community of Jesus’ time (Matt. 22:11,24; 26:59,60 etc.). A Christian has to grow in truth to become one like God, as God is Truth, and should participate with God to perfect the created world of God over against the false propaganda given by the snake (Gen. 3:4, 5). On the day of Pentecost, we renew our commitment to be cared by the Holy Spirit to grow in truth that we may truly become the children of God and work with Him to bring in the Kingdom of God as we recite in the Lord’s Prayer. The meaning ‘counselor’ has two implications: first, giving us the right kind of information and second, comforting us in times of trials. Both are much needed in this world of adverse situations. Jesus told His disciples that ‘there is tribulation in the world’ (John 16:33). It is always possible to lose track when there is trials and tribulation. Also it may take one to depression and withdrawal. This is where we need the help of the Paracletos. The H. Spirit that is renewed in us on the day of Pentecost will strengthen us to see things in the right perspective and to steadily walk all the way up to the target set by our Lord with determination and courage at times of tests and trials. Paracletos is also a ‘mediator’ for us. This again has two features. One is standing before God in place of Christ to present each one of us before the Father. This is where the definition of sacrament (mystery musterion) in Orthodox theology becomes relevant. For us, sacrament is a way for us ‘to enter in to the presence of God the Father through the Son in Holy Spirit’. It intercedes for us before God. Again, it mediates between the world and us. It is said that the Sprit lead Jesus to the wilderness (Luke 4:1, 2). The Spirit leads us toward a time to prepare us to meet the world with the right kind of understanding and perspective. It tells us how to be equipped to face the evil one and evilsome situations. Paracletos is also an ‘advocates’. It stands before the world and argue with it on our behalf. Jesus asked His disciples not to be worried about what and how to defend themselves before others who challenged them (Luke 12:12). We should address a situation according to the guidance of the H. Spirit. However, unfortunately, we depend on our own perceptions, wrong notions, emotionally charged impulses and lack of proper understanding of things to address situations instead of relying on the guidance of the Paracletos. This is what put Judas Iscariot in trouble. Holy Spirit always suggests the way of truth and only truth. When the Jewish leaders put a challenge before Judas, he was not lead by the Spirit, rather by greed for money, power and acceptance (Matt. 26). We see the same situation in the case of Peter also. He lied to the maid for his love for life as he feared he will also be caught (Mar. 14). This is exactly our challenge here in this world today. We need to have perfect understanding about how and when we should address situations that might confront us. It should not be with our selfish motifs of misconceptions, rather with our spiritual content. We need to let the Paracletos that is renewed in us on the day of Pentecost, tell us what and how we should speak and do when we face concrete situations. No one can possess the Paracletos rather we can only be possessed by it. The Spirit is independent of our control, it controls us. Jesus said, “the wind blows where it wills, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes to; so it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit” (John 3:8). We cannot control the Spirit, but we need to let it control us. This brings to us a very important question about the effectiveness of our liturgical prayers and acts. Can we make sure that the H. Spirit will work the way we wanted it to, no matter how unjust we may be or how evil minded we wish to be? I don’t think we can be sure of the positive effect of the work of the Holy Spirit in such a situation. If we want the Spirit to be present and active in our lives, we need to follow the guideline and principle it lays before us. The primary principle it has laid before us is ‘truth’. The Spirit is the Sprit of God and God Truth (John 4:23,24). We see Jesus again and again bringing truth in to his statements. He would say, “Truly Truly I tell you ….. “ (Matt. 5:18; 8:10; 21:21; 23:36 and many more). The words of Jesus were true as He is the Lord of Truth and He gave us the Spirit of truth. “He who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory, but he who seeks the glory of Him who sent Him is true and in Him there is no falsehood” (John 7:18). When we are sent out by the Triune God after having renewed by the bestowing of the Paracletos, the H. Spirit, in the liturgy of the Pentecost, can we claim that we have no falsehood in us? This is the challenge before us today. Metropolitan Yuhanon Mor Meletius, Thrissur

Comments

Thanks Aboon for the reply
Hope Aboon is doin good and i have no words to express my immence joy for the name Didymus but it took long time to reveal .obviously Holy spirit worked right there.
Aboon ,with due respect,The hoy spirit carries both fruits and gifts but how we can preserve them is the major challenge that we face now. The transifugaration is a pivotal moment that we see god the father givin all authorieties to christ our lord in the presence of elijah and moses.Hope,love ,and faith in trinity leads us in truth.

Aboon , Thanks for detailing me with the events in new testament but i would like to have somethin from the old testament as well just to satisfy my hunger to know more about the holy trinity eventhough its a mystery .Dont get me wrong.
Manavikathayude kazhchappadukal ,i still enjoy that book.
Again Thanks Aboon
with prayers and regards
shainu

Dear Shainu
The presence of Holy Trinity was first revealed at the time of the baptism of Jesus Christ. Again it was there at the transfiguration mountain. So it was not the first time that we see the revelation of the Holy Spirit at the time of Pentecost. It was only a time when the disciples were given the gift of Holy Spirit. Again the present Pentecost day is not for the gift of the Holy Spirit, rather it is for the renewing of the Spirit. We have all ready in receipt of the Holy Spirit at the time of our baptism. So we don’t wait for the Holy Spirit any more. So there is no lent observed. But we certainly with prayer and meditation wait for the day of the renewal.
Regards and prayers
Thirumeni

Respected thirumeni
Hope our beloved thirumeni is doin fine.
Honestly, I have a question ..............
Why our church is not obeserving the days from Holy Ascension to Holy Pentecost as lenten days? I believe holy spirit guides and leads the church .Not only the church but also each persons.Trinity sunday is the core of our faith with incarnation of our lord and god jesus christ both r inseperable.
our faith is situated in and around holy trinity.
Is there any way our church can make it as lenten days , taking it more seriously with all imporatance.
Praise be to the Holy father and to the Holy son and to the Holy spirit at all times unto ages of ages .Amen
with prayers
shainu