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Image by Greg Rosenke


The Holy Pentecost Feast

         On this day, we joyfully celebrate Pentecost, the feast commemorating the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Holy Apostles and other disciples of our Lord in the Upper Room, as vividly described in 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" (Acts 2:1-4).

On Pentecost, the Holy Apostles used their unified language not to glorify themselves, as the people of Babel did when they built a monument for their fame, but to extol the mighty works of God. This highlights a crucial distinction: the unity inspired by the Spirit leads to a life centered not on ourselves but on God. This transformation from self-centeredness to Christ-centricity occurred in the lives of the Holy Apostles. Before Pentecost, they sought personal glory, debating who among them was the greatest. However, after the descent of the Holy Spirit, their focus shifted away from themselves and towards Christ, forming a community "of one heart and mind."


          The language they then spoke was one of humility, and through this humility, they were united by the power of the Holy Spirit. Unity is not externally imposed but is inherently present in the Holy Spirit, who is the essence of unity within the Church. Saint Augustine beautifully illustrates this, likening the Holy Spirit's role in the Church to that of the soul in the human body, animating and unifying it.


          Despite their diverse personalities and backgrounds, the Holy Apostles were bound in a community of love through the Holy Spirit on Pentecost. This community was not based on mutual compatibility or interests but was centered on Christ and united in the Holy Spirit. Similarly, our church today is not a gathering of like-minded individuals but a community formed by God through His Holy Spirit. The Church is not merely an institution but a miracle and a mystery, where the Holy Spirit, once bestowed only upon select individuals, is now available to all believers through the Church, regardless of their status, background, or identity.

As we celebrate Pentecost and its emphasis on unity through the Holy Spirit, it is our hope that we reflect upon what it means to be united. We are called not to unite based on our desires, like the builders of the Tower of Babel, but to unite through humility. Saint Paul encourages us to "preserve the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace." We must be vigilant, for just as a spider repairs any tear in its web to maintain its beauty and functionality, we too must actively work to mend any divisions among us, striving to uphold unity through the bond of peace.


May God bless us with peace; Amen!

Source: Coptic Orthodox Church Homily

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