The Renewal of Pentecost

This Sunday two of our parishioners Darren and Monica Vaughn will be receiving the sacrament of Confirmation from Bishop Michael Burbidge at Saint Peter Church.

At the Easter Vigil, five of our parishioners, Sandra, Kathleen, Josephine, Sarah and Anna Modersohn, likewise received Confirmation, along with Baptism and First Communion, as they came into the Church at the Easter Vigil.

And another parishioner, Neva Nikirk, received Confirmation in the extraordinary form last October 9.

It is thus a good occasion to review what the sacrament of Confirmation is for and what it adds to Baptism As the Catechism says, Confirmation is the personal renewal of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit came upon the early Christians and they went forth to evangelize the world around them. See Catechism 1302.

Baptism is like the first call of Jesus to His disciples, “Come, follow me.” The Holy Spirit is certainly present at Baptism, for one person of the Trinity does not act without the others. But Jesus also promised at the last Supper and after the Resurrection, that once He ascended into heaven, His people would be more open to the fullness of the gifts of the Holy Spirit so that we could know the truth more deeply, live it out more fully and bring the Gospel to the world. See John 14:25-26, 15:2627, 16:7-16; Acts 6:8.

That promise was fulfilled first at Pentecost and now in the sacrament of Confirmation. We can see the effects of the sacrament in the lives of the Apostles. Before Pentecost, eleven of the twelve Apostles were well intentioned, but often misunderstood Jesus and squabbled among themselves about such things as who was the greatest. And, when Jesus was arrested, they all fled; only John returned to the Cross.

But after Pentecost, they became a strong, wise and united band. Starting at Pentecost, they courageously bore witness to the Gospel before the world. They finally understood the meaning of Jesus’ words and they were able to explain how Jesus fulfilled both the prophecies and the longings of humanity. And they no longer jealously fought over who had what position, but rather cooperated well together for the sake of the kingdom of God.

Likewise, with baptism, we become disciples of Christ, children of God and co-heirs to a greater kingdom. Confirmation brings these gifts further, and helps us be brave in withstanding temptations and bringing the Gospel to the world. The Holy Spirit guides us to delight in understanding our faith at a deeper level. And we become more friends with the rest of the Church throughout time and space that we together can build up His realm on earth and be worthy of the lands of heaven.