How the Holy Spirit changes our lives

The Holy Spirit, our power to transform from within

June 28, 2021

sermon on the feast of the Holy Spirit

Congratulations on the feast of the Holy Spirit, a feast of renewal and life! The spirit of God’s Love descended on the apostles like flames of fire. It came down on our whole Church. The people of the world that lies in sin are coming here ever since to become free children on God. They come to receive the power and inspiration to build a new life. In this life to be, the last shall be first, and the first last. The rules of this world will be overturned and invalidated. Human knowledge, power, invention or worldly laws will no longer matter, for God’s love is its sole foundation.

At church, people transform from within as they follow Jesus. The belligerent, unreasonable, argumentative or adulterous become pure and humble souls. Mary of Egypt, a harlot, became a saint. A robber, sent to the cross for his crimes, went to heaven with Christ.

Where will we end up after our time-limited existence on this earth is over? Nothing is impossible for God. The possibilities before us and how they materialize are a mystery of His spirit. God reads our hearts, He knows our emotions, reactions and sensations and thoughts; He understands our desires and motivations. Even our good intentions are pleasing to Him. He delights in our resolve to seek purity and righteousness. God will not turn away from someone who aspires and appeals to Him to spare him from the torment in the abyss of sin. He will give our struggling souls the strength to break free and live in Him forever.

We venerate the Holy Spirit because what makes us close to God and others is not our ability to talk over Skype or the phone, but our connectedness in the spirit. Where a spiritual connection exists, physical distances are irrelevant. Time does not matter. Without it, we remain isolated even when we are near. One may try very hard, but still not succeed in establishing an understanding or affinity.

I know of two sisters in Christ whose father lived a hard life and spent time in prison camps for his Christian faith. They had a strong spiritual connection with their father. He departed, but to them, he was still alive because they were close in the spirit. They prayed for him at church and privately.

As we are moving away from a materialistic picture of the world to one in which there is unity in the spirit, we transform ourselves. This God-given unity was present among us today during the liturgy. We prayed as one and sang praise to our Lord. Together, we experienced the workings of His spirit. We observed the great miracle of the Eucharist, in which the Holy Spirit descends, transforming bread and wine into Christ’s Body and Blood. The mystery of the Holy Spirit transforms a harlot into a saint, a robber into a righteous man. But the Holy Spirit will not descend on someone who will judge the robber or the harlot because, by judging, we condemn ourselves to an eternity in a place that we would all rather avoid! We are now having a spell of hot weather, and several days ago, there was rain and chill. Many complained then, and are complaining now. People are very hard to satisfy. Anything they might encounter will displease them. They will find fault even in the best of things. But people who live in the spirit know how to be grateful. They will find joy in a chilly day, and equally in a hot and sunny one. So let us live in joy and be thank Him from all our hearts. Christ is among us, He has not forsaken us sinners, and wants us to have everlasting life in unity with Him.

May the Holy Spirit fill you!

Archpriest Andrey Lemeshonok

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