Archbishop Andrei (Rymarenko) – Holy Trinity Sunday or Pentecost.
Brothers and sisters! See how the Holy Church teaches our conscience. The flowers today represent our conscience. Because when all of nature was still dead, when the time of our yearly cycle was approaching, the Holy Church revealed to us a great mystery: the mystery of our redemption. She then opened before us the cave of Bethlehem and the Lord Who had just been born. And we were told through the reading from the Epistle to the Galatians that this cave is our entrance in to a new yearly cycle, that at the manger of Christ our soul is renewed, and that in this renewal of spirit we receive the spirit of adoption (sonship), which unites us into the one family of Christ (Gal. 4:4-7).
And these are not just words. The Holy Church convinces us of this, comparing our spiritual life with what goes on in nature: the death of nature in winter, its revival in the beauty of spring and summer, and the yielding of fruit in fall. It is the same with the soul of a human being. After the sluggishness of spiritual slumber, a person receives the spirit of adoption in order to unite in one family and to receive what the Lord gives in His plan of salvation — His Body and Blood, the Mystery of the Tree of Life, which Adam lost in Paradise.
And as nature blooms, so blooms our life; if we would just make use of the Grace which the Lord gives us through His sufferings, which He endured for the sake of our redemption, in order to make our soul fruitful with good works, what the Lord called the Beatitudes (Mt. 5:3-12): Blessed are the poor in spirit, blessed are the meek, blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, blessed are the merciful, blessed are the peacemakers. Blessed!
And this, our surrendering to the Lord is repeated on the eighth day after the Nativity of Christ, on the day when the Holy Church celebrates the Lord’s Circumcision. Then we too as if circumcise our own heart and confess: We are Christians; we form one family, whose Father is God.
After we have experienced all this and have given our promise, the Lord brings us to the manifestation of God (the Lord’s Baptism), to the moment when Christ shows us the way to perfection. Yet we did not fulfill all this. We proved to be unworthy. And instead of the revelation of God, we transformed our life into a manifestation of worldliness, because we were living in worldly interests, forgetting the main thing.
And here, coming to our help, the Holy Church gave us Great Lent for repentance, so that we would study our heart and turn again to the Golgotha of the Lord; so that we would come to the Cross of Christ, kiss His wounds, see again His sufferings, and thus approach the great day of Easter.
And on this day, a day of joy and Resurrection of the New Testamental Life, the Lord breathed and said: "Peace be unto you!" (Lk. 24:36). Yes, we received peace in our heart, but we have lost it again and again. Enmity, malice, any kind of impurity have forced it out of our heart; but mainly, the conviction that our life is on earth and in earthly things. The earth offers us earthly goods and we fight for them. But suddenly death comes, the body rots in the earth, and the spirit goes into eternity.
Then why all this fight for earthly goods? What for? -For nothing! It was all in vain. May we never be in such a state that would hide us from Christ, and Christ from us.
But the merciful Lord, seeing the state of our conscience, by way of teaching us, gives us these flowers as a pattern for real life. What beauty! What jewels! Such work could be done only by the Creator Himself.
And He says to us: Such work will I do on your heart as well! Now during Vespers, we will hear three great prayers (Three penitential prayers read during "Kneeling Vespers" which follow Divine Liturgy on Holy Trinity Sunday (Pentecost)). Let us pray that, where we could do nothing, the Grace of the Holy Spirit will accomplish that which will bring us to salvation.