Mass of Confirmation – Queen of Martyrs Parish – September 10, 2023

11 September 2023

Appears in: Messages and Homilies

Homily

[Ezekiel 36:24-28; Psalm 23; Romans 8:14-17; John 14:23-26]

When I met with Fr Michael to prepare for this mass, he told me to expect a lot of pictures to be taken before, during and after mass. And I can see that you certainly have come to the church accompanied by many paparazzi. When all the cameras come out, it is a clear sign of everyone’s awareness that something very important is happening in your lives, an event we all want to preserve in our memories for a long time. It also points to the love and pride your family members feel for you as you take what is a highly significant step in your journey of Christian faith.

The event, of course, is the sacrament of Confirmation. You have already been baptized, another moment when the cameras were hard at work. At that moment, you began your life with Jesus Christ as a member of his Church, called to a life of holiness. Now, through the sacrament of Confirmation, you receive the Holy Spirit, whom, in today’s Gospel, we hear Jesus promise to send to his followers.

The first time he fulfilled that promise was at Pentecost. From your preparation you know what happened to the apostles who received it. They were given the gift of understanding everything that Jesus had taught them, as well as the gift of courage, or boldness, to tell other people about what Jesus had done for the world by his dying and rising.

The very same Holy Spirit given to those apostles is bestowed upon you today in the sacrament of Confirmation, and for the identical purpose: to enable you to understand the teaching of Jesus Christ and boldly be his witnesses in the world. It is no wonder we have so many paparazzi here with us! Today you set out on your Christian mission to share with the world the message it needs to hear: the announcement of hope and life that can be found in no one other than Jesus Christ.

We all recognize, I believe, that this is not an easy task. The Gospel of our Lord and the teachings of his Church are not popular in our day. In fact, this has always been the case. Jesus knows this, of course, so from the beginning promised to send the Holy Spirit, who would give us all the insight, conviction and boldness we need to be faithful to our call. That promise is being fulfilled for you today.

And please be aware that this gift is not given to you only on a temporary basis. The gift of the Holy Spirit is permanent; he will never leave or abandon you. This is what is meant when you come forward to receive the sacrament, and I say to you “Be sealed, with the gift of the Holy Spirit.” From this moment, he is with you to be your strength and to give you all you need, as you need it, to be faithful witnesses to Jesus.

There is another promise given to you today as well. It is the promised gift of peace. After I anoint you with the sacred chrism, I shall say “Peace be with you.” This gift arises deep within our hearts when we listen to Jesus and come to understand what he says, and follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit, who lovingly leads us in the ways we must go.

Now, I invite our Confirmation candidates to stand and renew their baptismal promises.

 

Most Reverend Richard W. Smith
Queen of Martyrs Parish
September 10th 2023

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