When Pentecost day came round, they had all met in one room, when suddenly they heard what sounded like a powerful wind from heaven, the noise of which filled the entire house in which they were sitting; and something appeared to them that seemed like tongues of fire; these separated and came to rest on the head of each of them. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak foreign languages as the Spirit gave them the gift of speech.Acts 2
Can you imagine what it was like to be in that upper room? Can you imagine the difference between how you entered that room and how you left that room?
The apostles had been with Jesus for three years, listening, asking questions, observing cures, taking part in miraculous events; they had even been given the power to be like Jesus in some ways when they cast out devils in His name. But then they were also present when Jesus was arrested, some of them witnessed His trial and execution. A few days later and for the past few weeks they saw Jesus alive again having conquered death; and then they were present when He ascended to His Heavenly home. They had been on what we would call a roller-coaster journey, with massive highs, very dramatic lows and then massive highs again.
But now they were alone again, there must have been quite a bit of fear as they entered that room, none of them knew what was going to happen, they had witnessed how the people had turned against Jesus in the blink of an eye; from his triumphant entrance into Jerusalem, when the crowds were with Jesus as he was carried into the city; to his trial and crucifixion when Jesus carried his cross out of the city.
The apostles must have fearful wary, if not terrified that the people would do the same to them. As we read in our first reading the Holy Spirit came powerfully to them just as Jesus had promised. The Holy Spirit removed their fears and they left that upper room permanently changed. Instead of fear they had courage, courage to go out and share the truth of the Risen Christ to the Jews who had assembled from all around the known world to celebrate the Feast of Weeks. These people from many different countries were able to hear the word of God in their own languages; being spoken through the apostles, all Galileans; and all hearing about the marvels of God. How must this have impacted on all who were present?
This weekend across the Portsmouth Diocese, and no doubt in other places around the world, many young people will celebrate the Sacrament of Confirmation. This Sacrament is one of the marvels of God. This is when we ask for the Holy Spirit to come down on those being confirmed and transform them spiritually into active members of God’s Church here on earth. This is the final seal of their Baptism, the final rite of entry into the Church.
At times like this it is good to recall our own Confirmation, how did the gifts of the Holy Spirit affect us? For me, my Confirmation happened when I was still seven years old, it was a long time ago and is a bit of a blur. I probably remember the preparations more than I remember the service, some of the hymns I learned at that time in preparation for my Confirmation are still quite vivid. The main affect for me was on how I took part in the Church for several years afterwards, I had just become an Altar Server prior to my Confirmation and remained one for the next eight years; even when my family moved to a new Diocese, I switched to being a server in the new Parish, and that was where I first learned about deacons. The Parish had a transitional deacon ‘on his way’ to priesthood and the Parish Priest asked me to show him around the Parish to help him get his bearings. Taking him around the Parish gave me a small insight into the life of clergy working in a Parish.
What difference did the Holy Spirit make to you following your Confirmation? Did you have a deeper love of the Sacraments? Have you developed a care for our planet? Were you prompted to fight against injustice? Do you work to help the vulnerable, sick, or elderly? Were you affected in other ways? The Holy Spirit calls us to action, we are called to follow the directions of the Spirit, how faithfully have we answered that call? If we are struggling to think of how the Holy Spirit affected us then praying to the Holy Spirit for insight at this time of Pentecost and asking for a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit would be beneficial. The Holy Spirit fills us with the grace of God and enriches our lives. Our God is a generous God and wants what is best for us.
This weekend in St Bede’s Church there will be 43 young people being Confirmed, we pray for them, we pray for their parents and guardians, their sponsors and for al of the Catechists who have put so much time and work into helping them to reach this point. We thank God for them, and we look forward with anticipation to see how these young people will positively impact on our church and our communities.
Please keep in your prayers
- All of those being Confirmed this weekend, their parents, guardians and sponsors.
- All the Catechists who work on behalf of us to help sustain and build up our Church.
- Those completing the Let it Be course this Monday.
- Those attending the RCIA Course on Wednesday.
- That there will be a great take up on the Belong and Believe Course which starts on May 31st online Details available from Upcoming Events (stmandsto.org.uk) or contact email@example.com to register your interest.
- That the Confirmation of so many young people within our Diocese on the same weekend will give a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit on us all.