Sunday, May 16, 2021

Leaving on a jet plane (Ascension + Confirmation homily)

I want to talk about the sacrament of confirmation today;
But we’re recalling the Ascension – so what’s the connection?

Well, it’s easier when you and I clear away the wrong ideas 
about the Ascension and get straight what’s going on.

A lot of the focus is, “Jesus gets to go back to heaven. Good for him!”
But that misses the point. Jesus in heaven is good for US. Why?
Remember, Jesus has made us part of him.
What did we hear just the other day? 
“I am the Vine, you are…the branches”:
We’re the body, he’s the head. We’re one with him.

There are plenty of times we find that hard to grasp;
And when you and I don’t act like we’re part of Jesus.
But that is what our Faith is, that’s what it is all about.
Therefore, where he goes, we go. He brings us along.

So the Ascension is not, “Bye Jesus, see you at the end of the world!”
But rather, Jesus says, “Let’s finish the trip: all aboard!”

So with that in mind, how does confirmation fit in?
Let’s keep going with the “going on a trip” analogy.
You get on an airplane, they check your ticket, right? 

That’s baptism: baptism puts you on the plane.
It’s a long flight, so they’ll feed you:
But this airplane food is the best: the Holy Eucharist!

What do they say when you get in your seat and about to take off?
Buckle your seat belt, right? Why? It may be bumpy. You’ll be OK.
And that’s confirmation! 
Confirmation lets you know: you’re where you belong, you’re solid.

Actually, confirmation does even more.
It unlocks the gifts and power of the Holy Spirit in each of us,
so that whatever our role on that airplane, we’ll have what we need.
Maybe you’re the pilot or navigator; or one of the flight attendants…

Maybe that’s what I am! I come around to see if you’re OK;
I give you the Holy Eucharist; if you’re feeling sick I anoint you!

Even as a passenger on the plane, you have a job to do.

Have you ever had to calm another passenger?
If there’s an emergency, you’re a doctor, you’re a nurse, you’re a priest:
They need your skills and your calm and your courage.
Confirmation is that sacrament that says, 
you’re part of the team, you’re ready to do your part.

Now, the good news is that on Jesus Airlines, the plane will get there! 
There are bumps and detours and complaints 
and the passengers don’t always behave well.
Nevertheless, the plane will get there.
Confirmation is all about empowering each of us to do our part.

No comments: