The celebration of the Sacrament of Confirmation is the completion of our baptisms and it is important for us to receive this sacrament. It is particularly important if we believe that the Church’s mission is to evangelize. For us to truly be an evangelizing Church, we need the Holy Spirit, the Advocate, to give us life.

So, what does the completion of our baptism give us? The manifestation of the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit, which were given to us at our baptism. When the bishop and priests extended their hand over the confirmandi, we prayed for the Holy Spirit to fall fresh upon those who were receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation.

In much the same way when the Apostles Peter and John went down to Samaria, they were confirming those who were baptized by Philip in their faith. “Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent them Peter and John, who went down and prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Spirit, for it had not yet fallen upon any of them; they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 8: 14-17) The Holy Spirit, the Advocate, confirmed the newly baptized in their faith through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

The gifts, which we poured out, manifested themselves in the lives of those confirmed are wisdom, knowledge, right judgment, reverence, courage and wonder and awe. Those gifts give life to the Church and make Jesus always present to us as well. Jesus promised to send us an Advocate, “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of Truth, whom the worlds cannot accept, because it neither sees nor knows him.” (John 14: 16-17). Prior to Jesus speaking these words from his Last Supper Discourse from the Gospel of John 14: 15-21, He tells His disciples that their love for Jesus will compel them to keep his commandments, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” (John 14: 15) Jesus’ call to keep his commandments is not only referring to the Ten Commandments, but to every word of God that has been spoken by the prophets and passed on to us in Scripture. We can understand more profoundly how God’s commandments include not only the Ten Commandments but the whole of God’s word. The love of God’s Commandments is a prerequisite for receiving the Holy Spirit, the Advocate.

What is an Advocate? An Advocate is someone who provides help for those who are in need. Jesus promises his disciples an Advocate, one who will hear and answer our cries for help and strengthen us to keep God’s Commandments. In these times of difficulty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, it is comforting to know that the Holy Spirit, the Advocate, hears and answers the cry of those in need. Jesus promised the Advocate on the night before he was to die. Today’s gospel from John 14: 15-21, which is the continuation of the Last Supper Discourse which was begun on the Fifth Sunday of Easter, provides us with an understanding of how Jesus would comfort his disciples in their time of need during his passion and death on the cross.

The Advocate is not only given to the disciples as we read in today’s first reading from Acts 8: 5-8, 14-17 but is given to all the baptized. God’s comfort is meant for all humanity.

The Advocate unites our prayers to God, and our prayers are our cries for help and comfort. The Advocate communicates the Father’s response to our prayers, for the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, is God’s answer to our prayers. The Holy Spirit advocates and makes it possible for us to receive Jesus’ healing from sin and death and to be born to new life from above through God’s grace in the waters of baptism. It is the Advocate that brings Jesus’ forgiveness to us in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. That same Advocate heals us of our afflictions in the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick. The Holy Spirit unites us to Christ and to one another in the Eucharist. The Advocate makes Jesus’ presence real in the bread and wine becoming his body and blood and in turn our receiving Jesus Christ present in the Eucharist; we ourselves become bread for others.

In all ways the Holy Spirit, the Advocate, enables us to love God’s commandments by sanctifying our lives. “Sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts. Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope.” (1 Peter 3: 15) As Psalm 66 says, “Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.” The Holy Spirit, the Advocate, enables us to love God’s Commandments, to live in hope and be filled with joy.