Fr. Jerry John Mathew
(Vicar: St. Mary’s Malankara Syrian Orthodox Church, Detroit)
Knowing, Understanding and Experiencing God
Glory be to the Father Son and the Holy Spirit
The Church has entered into the liturgical period that lies between the Holy Feast of Pentecost and the Holy Feast of the Cross. In other words, this is a period that symbolically depicts a believer’s journey from the understanding of God to the experiencing of God. Pentecost is the day when the pouring of the Holy Paraclete from Above, brought to us the true understanding about what Jesus had already revealed about the otherwise eternally esoteric God. It took generations for the humanity to know God. In Jesus Christ the human search for God became fulfilled, as through His revelation He helped us to know the completeness of God. Knowing about God does not mark the completion of our spiritual journey. Jesus Christ through His divine act of sacrifice, welcomed us to the fellowship with God, to implant in us the real divine natures He had in Himself. This divine revelation in and through Jesus Christ is a willful act of God which expects a willful response from the creation. This wilful divine act of Christ cannot be understood without the true Spirit of God, and hence the Feast of Pentecost. Jesus helped us to know about God, which the Paraclete helped us to understand. The Feast of Pentecost is to commemorate the day of our understanding of how great the messianic act of God was, in and through Jesus Christ.
On the other end, we are to celebrate the Feast of the Cross on September 14th, commemorating a historic day of discovering the cross of our Lord. Cross symbolically depicts the experience of the pain that God had to suffer for bringing the creation back to the promise of the divine nature. Finding of the cross of our Lord is to be understood as a wilful responsive act of converting the understanding about God (Pentecost) into experiencing the reality of God (Cross). Thus the Feast of Cross represents the spiritual journey of the Church, in search of the experience of God upon the Cross. It is an appropriate and divinely inspired wilful response of the divine community to what Jesus Christ led us to know and to what the Holy Paraclete led us to understand. May God help us all. AMEN.