We always look forward to our annual visit from the pupils of St. Bride’s Primary School in Belfast and when they arrived earlier this month, it was great to see them. We had been working with older groups since September, which we enjoyed, but it is also lovely to go back to where our journey as independent Christians begins, the Sacrament of Confirmation. It is here that we confirm, (agree to) the decision our parents/guardians took on our behalf at the time of our Baptism. Confirmation completes the Sacrament of Baptism.
Being a follower of Jesus is difficult. Some of the things that Jesus asked us to do are tough: “Love one another,” is all very well, but what if the person is really annoying you that day, or everyday? “Turn the other cheek,” sounds very counter-intuitive, “An eye for an eye,” seems to be a more natural reaction. “Do not worry about tomorrow,” sounds like great advice, but what if something worrying is going on in your life? “Love your enemies,” just seems utterly impossible. Luckily for us, Jesus knows and understands that human beings find these things tough. Look at His apostles who shared His life for three years, even they fell short of what Jesus asked of them, and yet, He loved them still and forgave them their shortcomings, even placing great trust in those who had disappointed Him (Peter for example.) He does the same to us.
Jesus tells us, “You are the light of the world!” All we can do is try to let our light shine and be a light to others in the world. When our light dims, or we cover it, by failing to show love or hurting others and ourselves, we can recognise this and do something about it. When we fall off a bike for example, it’s discouraging and painful, but we don’t immediately throw the bike in the bin. We might not feel like getting back on it, but usually, someone encourages us and we do. Soon we are experiencing the joy of being on our bike again. So too, when we fail to let our light shine, through selfishness and sin, we don’t say, “Being a Christian is too hard! I give up!” instead, we look around us at the people who are a light to us and their example can encourage us to try again. Soon we are experiencing the joy of being the person that God created us to be. We are co-operating with His Holy Spirit who dwells within us.
The pupils of St. Bride’s will make their Confirmation soon. We wish them every blessing in following Jesus, and we ask the Holy Spirit to guide them always.