It is appropriate to celebrate within the Easter season all the sacraments of initiation: Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist. It is through these sacraments we experience our salvation and redemption, we experience in specific ways the life of the Lord and the Spirit. Last Sunday, ten candidates joined candidates from Holy Spirit at Saint Joseph Cathedral Basilica, with the cathedra or seat of the bishop. Bishop Cantu presided over the Mass and conferred the sacrament of Confirmation which is intimately connected to the sacrament of Baptism. After the Liturgy of the Word, the candidates renew their baptism promises, making their profession of faith continuing to make this sacrament, a faith passed on by their parents, making it more their own. It is not so much that a candidate chooses this sacrament as much as it is the candidate is open to the working of the Holy Spirit in their lives. It takes time and experience to understand the gifts of the Holy Spirit like the disciples of the Lord centuries ago, when they were empowered on Pentecost to go forth and announce the Good News of the Gospels. It takes time to discern and uncover these seven gifts: wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, piety and fear of the Lord, meaning awe and reverence of the Lord. When the newly confirmed is open to these gifts, they are potentially changed and transformed to live and be more like Christ, remembering always they are sons and daughters of God, made in God’s image and likeness. It is important to confirm our faith and live it as we hear about all the disciples in that early church so many centuries ago that changed the world as the Holy Spirit changed their lives. As we receive the “peace of the Lord, may it permeate our world which desperately needs peace, an end to hate, and a willingness to coexist within all of our diversities.
Similarly, we celebrate the sacrament of Eucharist for the first time with five eager young candidates who will receive the Body and Blood of Christ today at the 10:30 AM Mass. They have prepared for two years, getting ready for this day when they will get to commune in a new way with the whole faith community, nourished and enlivened by the very life of the Lord. It is a free gift, the gift of Jesus’ promise that he would be with us always to satisfy us, strengthen us, and at times heal us. May these children give us an example to reinvigorate our faith and belief by their enthusiasm to receive this most previous gift. Why would we ever absent ourselves from this gift the Lord so freely gives us so that we may celebrate his life, cope with life’s challenges, and be his people. Easter blessings on both our First Communion and Confirmation candidates.
Easter Blessings – Father Larry