Confirmed in the Spirit

Sixth Sunday of Easter
May 14, 2023

Today’s Readings:

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, many of our readings this week prepare us for the Ascension event, a leave-taking with deep gifts and emotions attached.

Our readings from Acts assure us that the early Church, despite the physical absence of Jesus, burst into blossom throughout much of Asia Minor. Today’s passage notes this flowering even in Samaria, where the Jewish faith had been truncated ever since the reign of Jereboam a thousand years before Christ. We read today about the Samaritans receiving their Confirmation:

Now when the apostles in Jerusalem
heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God,
they sent them Peter and John,
who went down and prayed for them,
that they might receive the Holy Spirit,
for it had not yet fallen upon any of them;
they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
Then they laid hands on them
and they received the Holy Spirit.

Acts 8: 14-17

In our Gospel, we see Jesus preparing the disciples for their own Confirmation which will come on Pentecost. Jesus is tender yet intentional in his instruction of the disciples. He knows that it will be challenging for them to move the Gospel forward without him right beside them. But he assures them that the Holy Spirit will sustain them through that challenge.

Jesus said to his disciples:
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.
And I will ask the Father,
and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always,
the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot accept,
because it neither sees nor knows him.
But you know him, because he remains with you,
and will be in you.

John 14:15-18

What about us – those charged with moving the Gospel forward today. We, like the disciples, must garner the courage to do this even though Jesus is not physically with us.

And we too have been given the amazing gift of the Holy Spirit! Do we ever think about our Confirmation? Or do we remember it only as a symbolic event that happened in our childhood?

How foolish we are if that’s the case! We have buckets of supernatural gifts to empower and nourish us if only we pay attention and ask. We, like the disciples, have not been left orphans of grace!

(Click on the buckets to enlarge if you wish.)

Poetry: God’s Grandeur – Gerard Manley Hopkins

The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
And wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.

And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs —
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings:

Music: I Will Not Leave You Orphans – Carey Landry

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