ON the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and exclaimed, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to Me, and let the one who believes in Me drink. The one who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of the believer’s heart will flow rivers of living water.’” Now Jesus said this about the Holy Spirit, which believers in Him were to receive, for as yet the Holy Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.
When they heard these words, some in the crowd said, “This is really the prophet.” Others said, “This is the Messiah.” But some asked, “Will the Messiah come from Galilee? Has not the Scripture said that the Messiah is descended from David and comes from Bethlehem, the village where David lived?” So there was a division in the crowd because of Him. Some of them wanted to arrest Him, but no one laid hands on Him.
Then the Temple guards went back to the chief priests and Pharisees, who asked them, “Why did you not arrest Him?” The guards answered, “Never has anyone spoken like this!” Then the Pharisees replied, “Are you also deceived? Has any one of the authorities or of the Pharisees believed in Him? But this crowd, which does not know the Law - they are accursed.” Nicodemus, who came to Jesus by night, and who was one of of the Pharisees, asked, “Our Law does not judge people without first giving them a hearing to find out what they are doing, does it?” They replied, “Are you also from Galilee? Search and you will see that no prophet is to arise from Galilee.”
And again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.”
Glory to Jesus Christ!
This coming Sunday is the great feast of Pentecost in the Orthodox Church - the day when God the Father sent the Holy Spirit through His Son, Jesus Christ, to all the faithful of the Church. The Lord promised to send the Holy Spirit before His ascension. Through the Holy Spirit He is always with us. We are guided by the Holy Spirit, we are united by Him as well.
Those who believe in Jesus Christ have the Holy Spirit. In fact, our journey of faith begins at baptism, where the Holy Spirit descends upon the newly-baptized Christian, and from that moment our task is to grow, or rather let the Spirit guide and increase us. It is possible to lose, or alienate, the Holy Spirit by apostasy, by falling into sin and refusing to acknowledge and repent of it.
Our way of life is the reflection of our beliefs, our faith, our moral and ethical makeup. "Out of the believer’s heart will flow rivers of living water," means rivers of charity, wisdom, love, and other Christian virtues.
Moreover, if we follow Christ we will never walk in darkness because He is the light of the world. It does not mean that the way will be easy because even in daylight we stumble, but it does mean that we will know where to go because the way will be visible. This way was walked by Christ Himself. He made our path of life to lead to salvation.
It would have been much better (for us), if Christ eliminated all suffering, pain, and death, but we would just become selfish and thankless. The whole history of Israel in the Old Testament is God providing for His people, while they get "fat and happy" and abandon Him. On top of that, a good portion (but definitely not all) of pain and suffering is of our own making.
Humanity, in general, is very corrupt. Individually we can't change the whole world, but we can straighten our own life out, and who knows, others looking at us might want to do the same. Christ promises that the pain and suffering we will experience will be temporary. More than that, in Christ our pain and suffering become redemptive - Christ's path to the Cross is our path to the Cross. And through the Cross Christ achieved our salvation.
Your in the Lord,
Father Aleksey - your friendly Singac priest
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Little Falls, NJ 07424
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