Solemnity of Pentecost
Confirmation at S. Isaia – 27 May 2007
1. My beloved faithful, beloved confirmandi, today we celebrate the completion and perfection of every feast and Christian celebration. We have reached today the purpose towards which the whole itinerary of the liturgical calendar tends, and urges us to go
Beloved confirmandi, you participate in this great feast of the Church in a special way, receiving in a moment the sacrament of Confirmation.
Therefore, what does the Church celebrate today? What is this great event? For what particular reason do we come together today to celebrate the divine Eucharist?
With His death and Resurrection Jesus has liberated humanity from its condition of perdition, of sin, from its destiny for death. But this liberation had only looked upon the humanity of Jesus. His body was resurrected; his human condition was transfigured into divine glory. What had happened to Jesus and in Jesus that Easter day, was destined to happen to each of us and in each of us. Every one of us is destined to rise just like – and along with – the Risen Jesus.
How can this "good destiny" of ours be fulfilled, that which is the "good destiny" of all humanity from the first to the last man? Because of what has happened and happens today – the gift of the Holy Spirit.
The word of God always helps us to understand these invisible realities, doing it well within the capacities of our mind by means of sensate images. Let us listen again. "And suddenly a sound came from heaven like the rush of a mighty wind, and it filled the house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire, distributed and resting on each of them."
You see that there are two signs of the gift of the Spirit – wind and fire.
We know that the principal function of wind is to purify the air. When it stagnates, it gradually becomes polluted. The Holy Spirit purifies the polluted spiritual environment that we breathe. He is the true beginning of the culture of life and truth which eliminates the culture of death and lies. Beloved confirmandi, perhaps these discourses will seem extremely difficult or haughty; this is not the case. Also, receiving the Holy Spirit today, you begin a journey of forming your person, which helps you not "to breathe the polluted air" in which we are immersed.
Fire is the second sign of the Holy Spirit. Fire, as you know, burns and illuminates. The Holy Spirit is He who is given to us because, as Jesus has just said in the Gospel, "He will teach us all things" concerning our salvation. The Holy Spirit is He who is given because He fills our hearts and ignites in us the fire of His love, as we have just said in the acclamation to the Gospel. Beloved confirmandi, a great path begins today for you. The Holy Spirit is given to you so that you may be freed from your egoism and become capable of love.
2. In conclusion, I must give you some thoughts concerning the words of St. Paul just proclaimed. It is most important.
The Apostle tells of a fact to which each of us testifies every day. The gift of the Holy Spirit meets resistance and opposition within each of us. The Apostle tells us that it can be lived "according to the flesh" or "according to the Holy Spirit." That is, one can live either resisting or submitting to the Holy Spirit.
Beloved faithful, I cannot now specify of late. I only say to you confirmandi that this contrast begins immediately in you just outside of the church. You will be tempted to leave the parish after Confirmation, to renounce your Christian formation.
All brothers and sisters, the Holy Spirit fills the measure of our heart and always introduces us more profoundly into membership in Christ.
La traduzione, non rivista dal Card. Caffarra, è di Ryan Hilderbrand.