Sent Out Into The World

In Father Hanly’s homily for Pentecost, Year C, he talks about the meaning of Confirmation, he explains the Laying On of Hands and the Anointing, and he finishes with the beautiful poem “Hope” by Charles Peguy.

Readings for Mass
First Reading: Acts 2:1-11
Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 104:1, 24, 29-30, 31, 34
Second Reading: First Corinthians 12:3-7, 12-13
Gospel: John 20:19-23

Recording of Gospel

Recordings of Homily
The meaning of Confirmation


Laying On of Hands

Anointing

Concluding Poem: “Hope” by Charles Peguy

Transcript of Homily
The meaning of Confirmation
It’s a pleasure to be gathered here with everybody today to celebrate Pentecost. And the pleasure is watching all you young men and women coming forward to declare yourselves ready and able to go out into the world. As the first disciples were sent out into the world by Jesus, today, Jesus sends you, too, out into the world.

And what are you supposed to do out there? Are you going to convert the whole world? No. But you’re going to do what the first disciples did and what the Church has done down through the centuries, by your word and your example. They will know that the presence of something different is among them, because you will go with Jesus as disciples of the Lord.

There is an old saying that you are to become the Holy Book for other people. What does that mean? Well, we think of the Bible as the place to… If I ask you what is the most important book for the whole Church, it’s the Bible. For centuries, down through the ages, people read the Bible. And what happened? They came in contact with God and they came in contact with the Good News that the world is forgiven and saved and healed, if they but reach out to the Lord Jesus.

And how are you going to do that? Certainly not by preaching with your mouth. You’re going to do it in two ways.

You’re going to do it by, with your mouth today, saying: “I believe in you, Lord. I hope in you, Lord. I ask you to be with me through my whole long life, never to leave me and always to make your presence felt within me.”

And then, by word and example, you live the life that Jesus wants you to live, a life that is full of peace and joy, but a life that also has many difficulties. But if there weren’t difficulties, there’d be no way that you could show the depth of your love, because it is in overcoming the world, the difficulties, in overcoming these things, that you become true children and disciples of the Lord.

And there are two things that are most important: your head and your heart. You must live with your heart and be guided by your head. You must live with your head, but always also with your heart.

For you are sent out to learn how to love, that people may learn from your example how to love: how to love each other, how to forgive each other, how to show compassion for each other, how to get up when you fall down and walk together towards that great goal that Jesus is leading you, which is into eternal life.

And we begin this today, we begin this today by renewing your baptismal promises. Do you remember when we practised them?

Many, many years ago, you were brought into a church like this and the people who brought you took your place and made these promises to God. And the promises were made in your name. And now, today, you are going to make them for yourself. It is you who are going to answer the questions put before you. And it is you who are going to commit yourself to God before all these people in this room.

Now remember, you are saying “Yes!” to life. So the response to your baptismal promises is always the same: “I do.” “I do.” Okay? Everyone, the answer is “I do.” But you’ve got to feel it, not with your head, but with your heart.

Now, I now ask you most solemnly, on behalf of all these witnesses who have come here to bear witness to your faith, I ask you…

Laying On of Hands
…what was done in the earliest days of the Church, when all the people who took their baptismal promises and renewed them together, and then the Church laid hands upon them, and this was the sign they were sent into the world.

And you were sent into the world to bring the love of God, and the caring of God, and the compassion of God, not through your understanding, but through your actions and your words, and with a full heart.

And so now I lay hands upon you…

Anointing
And now, we will anoint our Confirmandi, one by one, with the Holy Oil, which is the sign that was given many, many years ago, the sign and seal of kings and queens and prophets and of Jesus himself.

And, you remember now, I will say to each one of you and make the sign of the cross upon your forehead with the sacred oil and say your name and say, “Be sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

And do you remember what you are to answer? “Amen.” Amen means “Yes,” with my whole heart and my whole soul.

And then I will say to you, “Peace be with you,” the peace that Jesus mentioned, the peace that comes to you in Confirmation and makes you in harmony with yourself, in harmony with God, in harmony with the world.

And then the response to that is: “And also with you.”

Concluding Poem: “Hope” by Charles Peguy
Charles Peguy died during the First World War, but he left behind a wonderful, magnificent poem called “Hope.” And this is my hope. And this is what he tells us. And he speaks for God. And so it is God now speaking, that you might have hope. And the words go like this.

God speaks:
The dream you dream is my dream,
The house you are building is my house,
And the love with which you love each other is my love,
And that is the heart of the matter.

 

All Rights Reserved.
This homily was delivered on 23rd May 2010.
If you would like to use this transcript please contact us at fatherhanly.wordpress.com@gmail.com for permission.
It is sometimes hard to hear Father’s words, so please let us know if you think we have made a mistake in any of our transcripts, and let us have your suggestions.

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