Jesus said: “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, then you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria and even to the ends of the earth.” (Acts of the Apostles 1 :7-8) On the day of Pentecost the apostles including Mary, mother of Jesus and the women who followed Jesus received the Holy Spirit as Jesus had promised. They also received the power of sharing the Holy Spirit with others and witnessing to their faith in Jesus.
Today we rejoice because God will pour out the Spirit anew on you. When you, the children of Good Shepherd Inclusive Catholic Community, were baptized , your parents and godparents brought you to church and pledged their support as you began your faith journey in the family of God. At your confirmation, you are making a decision to follow Jesus and live God’s love in loving service to others. For the adults seeking confirmation, you are embracing a new depth of faith as you follow Jesus and take it to the next step in your witness to justice and compassionate service to all.
I know that your Pastors Judy Lee and Judy Beaumont have been preparing you for receiving the sacrament of Confirmation. Around the church, we have beautiful posters displaying the gifts of the Holy Spirit and the Sacraments of the Church with examples of their meaning for today.
The gifts of the Holy Spirit give us power to be witnesses for Jesus. Sometimes, for example, you may need courage to stand up when your classmates are being bullied or wisdom to say no to alcohol and drugs and other negative influences. Today you are all saying YES, I have decided to follow Jesus! Today, the adult confirmandi among us are completing their initiation into the faith community and making a commitment to use their gifts to build up the Body of Christ.
As you celebrate the sacrament of Confirmation, you are saying, “yes’, it is my choice to live fully my new life in Christ in the family of God. You are saying , “yes”, I am open to receive a new outpouring of the gifts of the Holy Spirit to strengthen me. You are saying, ‘yes”, I am God’s beloved son or daughter and God's Holy Spirit dwells within me. You are saying, “yes”, God will continue to speak, act, love and serve others through me.
In a few minutes, the entire community will join me in extending hands in blessing you as we pray that the Holy Spirit may gift you with new life. Then I, your bishop, will anoint each of you with holy chrism and pray that you may be sealed with the Holy Spirit .
We will pray that the Holy Spirit may fill your hearts with the love of God and work within you to witness Christ and set the world on fire in loving service to all.
So now, before you receive the Spirit, I ask you to renew the profession of faith you made in baptism or your parents and godparents made in union with the whole Church.