A New Beginning

Dear Brothers and sisters in Christ, 

Today we celebrate the Feast of Pentecost, the baptism of the Church. With this feast, we begin a new liturgical season in our Maronite calendar, the Glorious Season of Pentecost which is also the longest season in the liturgical year. On this feast, we commemorate the fiftieth day after the Resurrection of the Lord when the Holy Spirit descended upon the apostles in the upper room. Offcourse there are many references to the Holy Spirit in both the Old and the New Testaments, so have you ever asked yourself about the difference between the Holy Spirit referred to then and the Holy Spirit which appears at Pentecost?

When we think about the Holy Trinity, we find that first two out of the three persons are easier to understand than the third. God is easy to understand as the creator of all things. Jesus is also easy to understand because we distinctly know who he is and what he has done in and for the history of salvation. The Holy Spirit on the other hand is a little bit harder to grasp. What was the difference between the Holy Spirit before and after Pentecost? I can assure you that there is no difference before and after, however it is our understanding of Jesus; his life, death and resurrection that has changed things. As such, the Holy Spirit is now revealed in a different manner because of what Christ did for us. What has changed dramatically is our relationship to God and to each other which is now fulfilled when we know Christ and love him and attach ourselves to him. Therefore, everything is changed, everything is "new"! Pentecost brings a new beginning.

Liturgically, we celebrate this new beginning in two ways. The first is through the Rite of Adoration of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We kneel on the left knee to adore the Father, on the right knee to adore the Son and on both knees to adore the Holy Spirit which completes the Most Holy Trinity. The second is through the blessing and sprinkling with holy water. The holy water is a symbol that we use for the descent of the Holy Spirit upon us, just like it descended on the apostles two thousand years ago.

The question for us today is: are we ready to use the gifts of the Holy Spirit to witness to Jesus Christ in our lives through everything that we do and say, through our personal, family, work and social life? If you haven’t already started, let this season of Pentecost be a time when you start. If you have fallen, then call on the Holy Spirit to help you to get up and start again. Don’t let the gifts that the Holy Spirit has bestowed upon you go to waste.

Last Friday we had a very successful Gala Dinner. Our thanks again goes to everyone who organised and supported this event. We look forward to hopefully starting the work on the project very soon. The work never ends in our vibrant parish, as we complete one event, we now embark on the biggest event in our parish calendar, Feast Week. Our pastoral council will begin planning for this on Wednesday. Also a big thank you to Father Youwakim Noujaim and everyone who helped prepare the end of May procession. It was a beautiful prayerful night as always.

Fr Tony Sarkis

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