Immersed in Christ: May 5, 2020
Tuesday, Week Four of Easter
The Responsorial verse is from Psalm 117:1 and Romans 15:11: “All you nations, praise the Lord.” The rest of the Responsorial is from Psalm 87, which in the present context proclaims the Church the true home of all believers. A motive to “Go out to all the world and tell the Good News.”
The three steps of evangelization are (1) pre-evangelization through an event (or lifestyle) that raises questions.1 In Acts 11: 19-26 the Christians who were “scattered” by persecution to “Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch” were the event. When people asked them why they were running, their answer was (2) evangelization: to explain about Jesus. Result: “a great number believed and were converted.” Then they could (3) celebrate together in Eucharist.
The witness that won people to join the Christians was not just the event that raised questions. It was the evident faith the Christians had and the joy they took in it. Plus the joy the “Church in Jerusalem” showed by welcoming them into unity and sending Barnabas as an official representative to confirm their acceptance by the whole Church.
This acceptance is a pattern:
When the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them. The two went down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit (for as yet the Spirit had not come upon any of them; they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus). Then Peter and John laid their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. 2
The Sacrament of “Confirmation” is not primarily the act of those who receive it “confirming” their acceptance of the Church; it is the act of someone who can speak for the whole Church as bishops do, confirming the membership in the Church that anyone can give to another through Baptism. It is the whole Church approving and, like Barnabas in Antioch, “encouraging all to remain firm in their commitment to the Lord.”
Confirmation should give us a sense of being accepted as authentic Christians by someone with authority to judge and accept us in the name of the Church. At the same time, it encourages us to take our place in the ranks of those who carry on the Church’s mission. It approves us as working members of the Church and confirms our anointing to take part in the triple task of Jesus as Prophet, Priest and King.
John 10: 22-30: Jesus is asked, “If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.”
At every Mass the Presentation of Gifts invites us to “tell plainly” that we accept Jesus as Messiah. This involves embracing his mission as defined in the “messianic anointing” of Baptism: “As Christ was anointed Priest, Prophet and King, so live always as members of his body.”3 We “go up” symbolically with the bread and wine to commit ourselves to prophetic witness, ministry, and leadership in establishing his Kingdom.
Initiative: Ask if you have reason to be glad you are Christian. If so, express it..
1 See Acts 2:4-8, 3:1-12; Pope Paul VI, Evangelization in the Modern World, no. 21. 2 Acts 8:14-17. 3 See Catechism of the Catholic Church, 695, 1241.