FatherRay April 22, 2018  GOOD SHEPHERD SUNDAY

As we hear the opening line of today’s first reading, taken from Acts 4:8, which reads: “Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit…” do we realize that we too, like Peter, are filled with the Holy Spirit? Do we realize that like Peter our lives have been changed by the Holy Spirit? Before receiving the Holy Spirit, Peter and the apostles were like milk toast, weak and afraid. Once they received the Holy Spirit they became empowered, not only to proclaim, but to live out their belief in the Risen Jesus.

This afternoon Bishop Lawrence Persico will celebrate the Sacrament of Confirmation upon several young men and women from various parishes. It should give us time to reflect on our own reception of the Sacrament of Confirmation. Many of us may remember that we received a gentle tap of the face to remind us of the possible hardships that we may face in living out our faith, but that we were called to be tough enough to stick it out and live our faith. Others may think of it as a graduation ceremony indicating that we have learned all we can about our faith and now we have a PHD in our faith.  We received the gift of the Holy Spirit first in the Sacrament of Baptism and now the fullness of the Holy Spirt in the Sacrament of Confirmation is ours.

We know from Scripture that the Holy Spirit came down upon the apostles on Pentecost Sunday in the form of tongues of fire. That is the best description of the Holy Spirit. Just as fire both purifies and breaks through the darkness; so does the Holy Spirit, so that we may see the truth and live the truth. The Holy Spirit continually reminds us to live and love as Jesus did. The Holy Spirit reminds us that each day we are growing in our personal relationship with our God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). So, today, as we pray for those who will receive the Sacrament of Confirmation, let us pray also for our self that we may continue to accept the role of the Holy Spirit in our life.  Like Peter, may we remember that we are filled with the Holy Spirit.

I want to take this time to personally thank Bishop Persico for celebrating the Sacrament with us today.   

God Bless,   Father Ray