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Pray and work!

Holy Confirmation in All Saints parish Amsterdam

overweging_preek - gepubliceerd: zondag, 15 mei 2016
After the celebration with the candidates who received Confirmation
After the celebration with the candidates who received Confirmation

On the day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit was pouring out His gifts in Amsterdam as well. 22 candidates of All Saints parish received the sacrament of Confirmation during a joyful celebration of the Holy Eucharist in the afternoon. We are grateful to Father John Affum, the catechists and sponsors who prepared the candidates, to the beautiful parish-choir, the members of the parish council and kerk­bestuur and to all parish-members who contribute to this lively community.

Homily

Dear brothers and sisters,
especially you who are about to recieve
the sacrament of confirmation,

Great gift

What a beautiful day,
what a special gift is it
that we celebrate today!
It is Pentecost, feast of the holy Spirit
and you will recieve
the lifelong presence of the Spirit
in your hearts.

Laying on of hands

I will put put my hands on your head
as a sign that the Lord will be there
to protect you,
to guide you,
to make you strong
and to be at your side in difficult times,
to fill your hearts with love and wisdom,
to help you to make the right choices,
to chose the right path
and so on.

Anointing with chrism

I will anoint you with chrism,
wich is a special oil mixed with perfume
and consecrated by the bishop
in the cathedral church.

The perfume in the oil is a mission:
You are invited to spread
a good fragrance, a nice smell,
that means:
please, be a good person,
produce good works,
show yourself a catholic christian
in daily life!
That is your nice smell.
That is the way
how people can sense
that you are really a catholic christian.
This chrism is hardly visible
but it penetrates your skin
and makes it soft and healthy.
This is a sign
of how the Holy Spirit
is working.

His presence

The Holy Spirit is God,
you can’t see Him
with your human eyes,
but you can sense Him,
you can feel His presence
if you open your hearts and minds,
if you are waiting for Him,
longing for Him to come,
if you ask for His help.

Pray and work

Yes, God wants you to pray
and to work,
if you are praying
and trying to do good things,
He will be there at your side.
If you ask the Lord:
Lord, send me your Holy Spirit,
enlighten me
with your wisdom, your love, your strength,
He will not leave you alone.
But never forget
that the Lord wants you to be
a responsable co-worker.

Pick up truck

Once someone was driving a pick up truck,
but driving on a tough muddy section
of an unsurfaced road
he got stuck in a terrible way:
in no direction at all
he could move forward any more,
completely stuck.
The man climbed out of the pick up truck,
very angry
and started to hit the hood of the truck
with his fists, time and again.
Finally a a pious woman passed by
and asked him what happened
and why he was hitting the hood of the car.
Having heard what the problem was,
the woman said
that he should not become angry like this,
but that he had to pray.
God would certainly hear his prayers.
Then the woman walked away.
He did pray
but the vehicle didn’t start to move....
After a while another woman came near.
She was rather elderly.
When he explained to her what had happened,
she closed her eyes
and started to pray:
“Lord, you permitted this to happen.
Be at our side and help us,
give us the knowledge and power we need
and the wisdom and love
to fulfill your will.
Let this be an occasion for us
to love you more, to serve you beter”.
The owner of the car
was about to become very angry,
expecting that she would just pray and walk away,
like the other woman.
But, no, she started
to collect branches
and to put them under the wheels of the car
and she asked him to put on the engine
and to start to drive the car again.
Now the driver succeeded
and had the car moving forward again.

This is very good:
this woman did not just pray,
she did not just work,
she did both.
God was present there
and she realised it,
she prayed
and she did not forget
to do what was necessary.

Say: Come, holy Spirit!
And do your best!

The giver of all good things

Pray and work.

We have to do like that woman, always!
Never forget,
that everything we are able to do,
is given to us,
our skills are a gift of the Lord,
our wisdom is a gift of the Spirit.
Don’t forget to pray,
to start your work with prayer,
to do your work in the presence of God,
who is the giver of all good things,
and work, be diligent
in the service of God and mankind.

They went out...

We celebrate this beautiful feast of Pentecost
and your holy confirmation:
both are feasts of the holy Spirit.
The apostles were full of fear,
they had no courage to share their faith,
they locked themselves inside the upper room,
where they were together,
they were praying together,
but no action, they were there just passive,
waiting for things to happen.
But having recieved the holy Spirit,
they went out
and started to preach the gospel everywhere
and to do many good works.

Be an instrument

I hope and pray today
that you will act alike:
witness the beauty of your faith,
do not be afraid!
Pray and work,
give glory to God,
be an instrument of the holy Spirit!
Amen.

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