by Bishop Thomas Gumbleton
Pax Christi USA Teacher of Peace
Before we proceed with the confirmation, it’s important, of course, to reflect on the Scriptures of today’s liturgy. And even though we didn’t choose these Scriptures specifically for this confirmation ceremony, as we listen to them, I know for myself and I think all of us probably got a sense that these Scriptures fit very well for what we’re celebrating today in the sacrament of confirmation. What’s one of the most important things about being confirmed?
What do you accept when you’re confirmed? It’s a responsibility. A responsibility for what? As we said in the opening prayer, we asked God, “Send your Holy Spirit upon us to make us witnesses before the world to the good news proclaimed by Jesus.” “Make us witnesses before the world to the good news proclaimed by Jesus.” That’s what we are called to do when we become confirmed disciples of Jesus Christ. We’re to be like Paul and Barnabas who went out into those other lands and other areas of the world and proclaimed that good news.
They spoke about Jesus. They witnessed to Jesus, to what he had taught, what he meant, how he lived, what he asked people to do to bring about the reign of God, the fullness of God’s life and love and kingdom. Paul and Barnabas were among the first witnesses to Jesus, but all down through the centuries now, people have been witnesses to Jesus. Every part of the world now has heard the Gospel of Jesus. Today you’re being asked to be witnesses also.
How do you witness? Paul and Barnabas went around and they preached. Neither one of them had known Jesus during their life, but they knew Jesus from the other disciples who told them about Jesus. They had witnessed Jesus through the resurrection, especially Paul. He had that extraordinary conversion experience where Jesus appeared to him and said, “Why are you persecuting me?” Paul said, “Who?” Jesus, because Paul had been persecuting the church, God’s people, and Paul was converted...