This Sunday’s Gospel was about Jesus’ baptism. This marks the beginning of His public ministry. In baptism, the Spirit of God comes to us and gives us gifts that we would need in our living our Christian lives.
As a Catholic, we were baptized when we were still babies, thus, we don’t know anything about the world we’re entering. As we grow up, we are nurtured into the faith, most of the time, if not by our parents, but those in school, as well as our Godfathers and Godmothers who promised to guide us in our spiritual journey. However, as we grow up, we develop our own convictions and beliefs. The covenant our Godparents and parents made during our Baptism must be renewed through the Sacrament of Confirmation. As the word implies, we are to confirm the promises, this time around, it is us who would answer for ourselves. It is through this sacrament that we become soldiers of the army of Jesus Christ, defending the faith by living a truly Christian life, by striving to be more like Him every day of our lives.
In the Philippines, a Catholic child must receive the Sacrament of Confirmation by 12 years old. It is believed that by 12 years of age, a child can already think and decide for him/herself. By 12 years of age, the child reached a certain spiritual maturity that would qualify him/her as a soldier. However, as I have observed, this Sacrament have been taken for granted by many. Some receives the sacrament because of age, because of tradition. Some forgets to receive it until they are about to get married and one of the requirements for marriage is the Certificate of Confirmation. It is sad, but it is also very true. Not the same value is placed in this sacrament like Baptism. I think, 12-years of age is quite young, for the understanding of what Confirmation is really about, unless the child grew up understanding these things; unless he/she grew up in a healthy Christian environment that he/she would really be able to understand its true meaning.
If I received this sacrament when I was 12 years old, I wouldn’t have received it because I wanted to enlist in Christ’s army, but because it is a school requirement. Tradition requires it, so I must conform. That was the 12-year old me. Too many things happened between then and now; I have a different spiritual maturity now than when I was 12.
What’s the connection? Well, I just received this sacrament last Saturday, January 12, 2008. Yes, I received this sacrament at age 19, but I tell you that it is very meaningful to me. This is a big leap for me, for my growth, for the deepening of my faith. This signifies my decision to what Church I would belong to. It is so important to me that comments that show less importance for the sacrament hurt me. Because I put so much value into it, I also wanted people around me whom I shared this fact to recognize the value, even if it is not theirs. I just want them to acknowledge how important this is to me and show me that they understand.
My confirmation was an anointing of oil where I received again the Holy Spirit (or Might H as my friend calls it). As Jesus starts His public ministry after His baptism, so will I start again in living a Christ-like life, giving everything that I have for the greater glory of His name, seeking and obeying His will faithfully, and following His commandment of love.