Monday, June 2, 2014
Confirmation: Daily Mass Homily--Monday, June 2nd, 2014
In the Acts of the Apostles Paul clarifies the difference between the baptism of John and the baptism of Jesus: “When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.” The line that immediately follows describes an early example of Confirmation: “And when Paul laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them…”
We have a number of students who will be confirmed this Sunday. Please pray for them! As part of the preparation process they needed to meet with Fr. Rich and he asked me to get together with a few of them. The first question I asked: “N, why do you want to be confirmed?” The usual answer: “I want to be closer to God and be an adult in the Church.” I would then reply, “But why then, do some dioceses in our country confirm junior high students or children in second grade?” To this they had no answer.
This idea—that being confirmed equals being an adult in the Church is very common. But it is very wrong! This mentality suggests that we have earned something, or at least come to maturity in the faith. Yet Confirmation, like the other sacraments, is not something we deserve or earn. It is a free gift from God! This gift confirms the graces given in Baptism and allows the Holy Spirit to be present in a fuller way in one’s soul.
Confirmation is one of the three sacraments of initiation. The proper theological order is to receive Baptism, Confirmation and then Eucharist. This is what happens when, at the Easter Vigil, an adult is baptized, confirmed and then receives their first Communion. Some fellow Eastern-Rite Catholics and other Orthodox traditions do—some souls even receive these three sacraments in infancy. Our common practice—namely confirming in high school—is actually out of theological order. This leads in part to thinking that confirmation is parallel to graduation.
I believe you have all been confirmed and we thank God for that grace in our lives. Please pray for our confirmands as they prepare for Confirmation on Sunday and, if at all possible, please support them by coming to the Cathedral at 1:00 on Sunday for this festive occasion.