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Wednesday, May 2, 2018

     ”On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, ‘If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. He who believes in me, as the Scripture has said, out of him (ἐκ τῆς κοιλίας αὐτοῦ, out of his belly) will flow rivers of living water.’ But this he spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” (Jn 7: 37-40)

     On this feast of Mid-Pentecost, marking the mid-point of our journey from Pascha to Pentecost, we celebrate these words said, nay, cried out, by our Lord to all of us: If “anyone” thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. 

     That also means me, if I recognize that I do, indeed, “thirst” for the Holy Spirit; if I am “...

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

At the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, ‘Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?’ which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ When some of the bystanders heard it, they said, ‘Listen, he is calling for Elijah.’ And someone ran, filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a stick, and gave it to him to drink, saying, ‘Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down.’” (Mk 15: 34-36)

Part of the human pain Christ took on and overcame, on His cross, is “loneliness.” It is a human emotion connected to a certain yearning or “thirst,” which is why, according to another Gospel, at this point the God-Man says, “I thirst” (Jn 19: 28), and is given some vinegar-on-a-sponge. So He shares with us a drink we call “loneliness”… (Excuse me as I’m reminded of a line from The Piano...

Thursday, May 11, 2017

In the middle of the Feast, O Savior, / Fill my thirsting soul with the waters of godliness (εὐσεβείας, devotion, piety), as You did cry to all: / If anyone thirst let him come to me and drink! / O Christ God, Fountain of our life, glory to You!” (Troparion, Mid-feast of Pentecost)

Today is the Wednesday of Mid-Pentecost (τῆς Μεσοπεντηκοστῆς, Преполовения). So, Pascha is exactly three-and-a-half weeks behind us, and we have exactly three-and-a-half weeks to go until Pentecost, or the Descent of the Holy Spirit. At this mid-point of our long, 50-day journey from Pascha to Pentecost, it is easy to lose focus, and slip away from any kind of “devotion,” forgetting both the feast behind us (Pascha), and the one before us (Pentecost). Summer is coming, after all, so our thoughts might be more fo...

Friday, July 22, 2016

After this Jesus, knowing that all was now finished to fulfil the scripture, said, ‘I thirst’ (Διψῶ). A bowl full of vinegar stood there; so they put a sponge full of the vinegar on hyssop and held it to his mouth. When Jesus had received the vinegar, he said, ‘It is finished’; and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” (Jn 19: 28-30)

A literally “excruciating,” physical thirst was part of the agony of anyone dying in this horrible manner, by crucifixion. But as one of the few, precious words offered to us by our Redeemer in His final moments, this word, Διψῶ (I thirst), sticks in my mind as more than an expression of only His physical state. His entire journey, His entire coming into our world speaks of His undying “thirst” for our good, our salvation. And so also He called me to “thi...

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Jesus said to her (the Samaritan woman), ‘Every one who drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst; the water that I shall give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.’ The woman said to him, ‘Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Go, call your husband, and come here.’ The woman answered him, ‘I have no husband.’ Jesus said to her, ‘You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; for you have had five husbands, and he whom you now have is not your husband; this you said truly.’ The woman said to him, ‘Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet…” (Jn 4: 13-19)


Our Lord is drawing the woman out of herself, letting her tell Him things He already kn...

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

In the middle of the Feast, O Savior, / Fill my thirsting soul with the waters of godliness, as You did cry to all: / If anyone thirst let him come to Me and drink! / O Christ God, Fountain of our life, glory to You!” (Byzantine Troparion-hymn of the Midfeast of Pentecost)


How appropriate that today, on the “Midfeast” of Pentecost (i.e., the midpoint between the feasts of Pascha and Pentecost, according to the Older Calendar), the main hymn or “troparion” talks about spiritual thirst. Now that Lent is long over, the Paschal celebration has faded, and summer is upon us, I tend to drift, perhaps unnoticeably, into spiritual indifference. So, as my heart and mind begin to head for a sandy beach, the Church reminds me of a waterless desert, where I may find myself right now, barely noticing i...

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