Homily for the Pentecost Sunday Confirmation Mass
19 May 2013 at St. Mary’s Cathedral, Tokyo
First Reading: Acts 2:1-11
Second Reading: Romans 8:8-17
Gospel: John 14:15-16, 23b-26
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. Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. Yet the word you hear is not mine but that of the Father who sent me. I have told you this while I am with you. The Advocate, the holy Spirit that the Father will send in my name–he will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you.”
The risen Lord Jesus appeared to the disciples for forty days, manifesting that he was alive. Then on the fortieth day he was lifted up to heaven and was no longer visible. At that time he said, “And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20)
This is strange talk, indeed. Don’t you see a contradiction in these words spoken by Jesus when he was about to depart from this world? Doesn’t the word “depart” mean “not be together anymore”? Indeed, the physical body of Jesus departed toward the world of eternity, which cannot be seen by us on the earth.
Jesus of Nazareth spent little more than thirty years on this earth. He could only meet people of a certain time and place. However, by giving his Holy Spirit to us after leaving this world, Jesus has become able to meet anyone, anywhere, at any time. It was by the sending of the Holy Spirit that our encounter with Jesus became possible, and through this gift he fulfilled his promise, “I am with you always, until the end of the age.”
The Holy Spirit is truly the Spirit of God the Father and the Spirit of Jesus. He is the life, the power, and the love of God.
Today’s Gospel of John says that the Holy Spirit is the “Advocate.” “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of truth” (John 14:16-17). “The Advocate, the holy Spirit that the Father will send in my name–he will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you” (John 14:26).
The Holy Spirit is an advocate who will guide and encourage us to spread Jesus’ teachings truthfully and earnestly. He will also invite us to live according to the words of Jesus with wisdom and courage.
The promise of Jesus was fulfilled on the day of Pentecost, and it is on this day that the Church was born. The Holy Spirit remains within the Church and within us even now, continuing to enlighten us.
Many people today are waiting for the Good News of the Gospel. We have all received the vocation to spread the Gospel to those waiting for this good news. All of you who will receive the Sacrament of Confirmation today can, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, be strong and courageous in professing your faith. Pray to the Holy Spirit for guidance.
Let us pray to the Holy Spirit.
Holy Spirit our Lord, make us true disciples in spreading the Gospel. Come and free us from deception, doubt, fear, hesitation, prejudice, and hatred. Guide us to spread the Gospel with the peace of Our Lord. Give us the grace to be strong in our faith, and guide us to live our daily life in hope and love. Amen.