A Note From Fr. Timothy
Confirmation and Easter
The Easter season usually includes a number of other celebrations within it that help us recognize and appreciate this sacred time. In addition to the major feasts like Divine Mercy Sunday, The Ascension of the Lord, and closing with Pentecost, it is also a pretty common time for those receiving the sacraments for the first time – whether that be Baptism, confession, Holy Communion, or Confirmation. Each of these sacraments has powerful connections to Easter and in their celebration, we can begin to parse out deeper truths of our faith.
For example, when we think about Easter and the Easter season, the first thing that generally comes to mind for most of us is that Jesus Christ is risen – Truly, He is risen. The primary aspect of this time is a focus on the Resurrection. Even as we rightly focus on the Resurrection, however, we should not lose sight of its connection to other areas of the faith. There would be no Resurrection if there had not first been the death of Jesus. When we celebrate Baptism, we remember that we die with Christ and the three times pouring or immersion symbolizes the three days in the tomb. We then rise with Christ to new life of faith through a new birth by the Spirit.
Holy Communion connects us back to the Last Supper when with his disciples Jesus presented the entire paschal mystery. His death and resurrection was made present to them in that sacred meal and is made present for us again every time we come to Mass. Having our children celebrate their First Communions in May is not just because it is the conclusion of the academic year and they have finished their preparation (though that may be a factor) – rather it is because those students have just undergone the mystery and power of the Triduum and now are able to partake more fully in the Easter experience.
In much the same way, the sacrament of Confirmation calls us to reflect on Easter and the Resurrection. It is, for most of those receiving it, the final of the three sacraments of initiation (along with Baptism and Holy Communion). It is a strengthening and “confirming” for the one receiving it of that person has already received. What has been given in grace is now sealed by the Spirit so that the recipient’s faith might not be shaken. It also calls to mind how Jesus, immediately after the Resurrection when he appeared to his disciples, first greeted them by saying, “Peace be with you,” then breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” (cf. Jn 20:21-23.) Though confirmation can be celebrated at other times of the year, it is fitting that we have the opportunity to do so during Easter. Hopefully it helps us all to reflect more deeply on what we have been given, and how God is still at work in our lives.
As we continue through this Easter season and have the opportunity to celebrate the sacraments of the Church, may we constantly keep in our hearts and minds all that we have received – all of God’s great love for us – and have the strength to share that gift with others by our words and actions. May God bless all those who have received the sacraments of Initiation this Easter season, and keep them close to himself unto eternal life. Amen.
Fr. Timothy Gapinski