Pentecost Sunday

COME HOLY SPIRIT! Today brings Eastertime 2023 to its climax: the Solemnity of Pentecost, also called ‘the Birthday of the Church.’ Some say the Church’s ‘birth’ was when Jesus began His public ministry, which we now continue. Saint John Chrysostom [died: 407] believed the Church was ‘born’ on Good Friday, when a soldier’s lance opened Christ’s side and blood and water – signifying the Eucharist and Baptism – flowed forth. However, we DO know this: the Church is reborn and repeopled each time a Sacrament of Initiation: Baptism, Confirmation or Eucharist is celebrated. For Christ’s Body, His Church, is alive and well, for she is filled with the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit.

While Parishes celebrate the Confirmation of teens at various times of the year [ours is this Sunday, June 25, with Cardinal Tobin confirming our 38 Candidates!], today is also the preferred day to confirm adults – which our Archbishop graciously delegates Pastors to do. Although I must use the orations for Pentecost today, please prayerfully reflect on one of the three sets of orations provided for Confirmation as we lift up those who will receive this Sacrament this year. And on this Memorial Day weekend, pray for all who offered the greatest sign of love by giving their life in service to our Country.

Collect – For the Conferral of Confirmation – B

Graciously pour out your Holy Spirit
upon us, we pray, O Lord, so that,
walking in oneness of faith and strengthened
by the power of his love, we may come
to the measure of the full stature of Christ.
Who lives and reigns with … for ever and ever. Amen.

UNITY & MATURITY. In order for us to grow into the ‘measure of the full stature of Christ’ – or as we more commonly say, to become ’another Christ’ – we need the unifying and developmental power of the Holy Spirit – for we cannot do it alone! The Acts of the Apostles, the Church’s first history book, from which our First Reading came from at almost every Mass during Eastertime, makes that point very clear. The Descent of the Holy Spirit on those fearful Apostles radically changed them into bold proclaimers of the Gospel. And the Holy Spirit can do the same in and through us who are willing to accept and use His sevenfold gifts: wisdom and understanding, counsel and fortitude, knowledge and piety, and with the fear of the Lord.

Prayer over the Offerings – Conferral of Confirmation – B

Accept graciously these your servants, O Lord,
together with your Only Begotten Son, so that,
signed with his Cross and with a spiritual
anointing, they may constantly offer themselves
to you in union with him and merit each day
a greater outpouring of your Spirit.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

CONFIRMATION IS A START, NOT AN END. Once we receive God’s Gifts, we are obligated to unwrap and assemble them, discover their purpose, develop them, and put them into action. As we do so, God gifts us again, building on what He first provides and we employ, which leads to even more gifts from God. Which is why, in summarizing what the sacred Scriptures so often suggest, Saint Ignatius of Loyola said, “God will not be outdone in generosity.”

Prayer after Communion – Conferral of Confirmation – B

Instruct, O Lord, in the fullness of the Law those
you have endowed with the gifts of your Spirit
and nourished by the Body of your Only
Begotten Son, that they may constantly show
to the world the freedom of your adopted
children and, by the holiness of their lives,
exercise the prophetic mission of your people.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen

IF WE PLAY BY THE RULES As this oration notes: receiving the Gifts of the Holy Spirit – and Christ’s Eucharistic Body and Blood – cannot help us – unless we follow the Law. While that may not be the most welcomed statement, it is true; just look at current events to see what happens when we disregard God’s Law of Love! The Precepts of the Church, the Commandments, disciplines and obligations are not intended to limit or restrict us, but to protect and better enable us to ‘Live by the Spirit’ and to ‘Become what we Receive’ in the Eucharist. How are you using the Gifts of the Holy Spirit? Happy Pentecost! Alleluia, Alleluia!

With God’s love and my prayers,

Very Rev. Michael J. Kreder, VF, KCHS