It was a privilege for the Emmaus Servant Community to have His Grace, Archbishop Emeritus Peter Chung, offer to give a series of Talks on The Sacraments, to grow our faith.
The Talks were on 4 Sacraments and divided into 3 sessions. Emmaus is indeed grateful to His Grace for his unceasing desire to educate us on matters that are of importance to our Christian lives.
The Talks replaced the usual teachings on the Word of God at Emmaus’ Friday Prayer Meetings, and were opened to the BSC community.
We are reproducing the Talks in 3 Parts, beginning with the first installment:
PART 1 – The SACRAMENTS OF BAPTISM AND CONFIRMATION
“ The Church believes and teaches that Jesus has instituted 7 sacraments as means to help us to live worthily our Christian life as Jesus taught and wanted. I will give talks on 4 of the sacraments: Baptism, Confirmation, Confession and the Eucharist. Frequently reminding ourselves of these 4 sacraments, we will remember who we are, and how we should live our lives.
(a) Baptism has created a new relationship for us with God, and raised us to the dignity of being sons / daughters of God.
(b) Through Confirmation, the Holy Spirit came to us to be our permanent Helper and Guide in living our new relationship with Jesus and God.
(c) We often commit sin. God forgives us from sin through Confession.
(d) In the celebration of the Eucharist, we worship God and receive Jesus for intimate union.
THE SACRAMENT OF BAPTISM
(a) Do you know the date and place of your baptism?
(b) Do you celebrate the date of your baptism, like you celebrate your birth date?
(b) Why do you have a Christian name (like Mary, Teresa, Joseph, Peter)?
(c) Who was your godfather or godmother at your Baptism?
(d) What did Jesus mean, when He said to Nicodemus: “I am telling you the truth, that no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit”? (John 3:5).
2. The Sacrament of Baptism
The Church teaches that the first sacrament to be received is Baptism, through which the baptised person is ‘reborn’ into God’s family with a new relationship with God, and is admitted into God’s kingdom; he is now a member of the Body of Jesus, the Church.
3. The Rite of Baptism
Let me remind you of what was done for you in the rite of Baptism:
(a) The priest received you into church as a symbolic sign of entering the Church of Jesus.
(b) If you were an adult, the priest asked you to be sorry for the sins of your past life, so that you might be cleansed from both original sin and personal sins in Baptism.
(c) You were asked to make an oath of rejecting all evils, and an oath of believing in all what the Church believes in the Apostles’ Creed.
(d) Then you were baptised in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. From now on, you belong to God and a member of God’s family.
(e) The priest anointed your forehead with Holy Oil to mark you with the Holy Spirit, and to live with Jesus and participate in His priestly, prophetic and royal work.
(f) The priest gave you a lit candle to be “a person of light (faith)” (Mt 5:16), meaning that from now you must live to give glory to God.
(g) All these are to remind you of who you are, and how you should live as a Christian!
4. The Effects of Baptism
(a) Through Baptism, you were freed from the original sin and cleansed from your personal sin, if any. Hence, you must strive all your life to avoid sin and live worthily with Jesus before God.
(b) Baptism has given you a new relationship with the Blessed Trinity: God is your “Father in heaven”, the Son of God, Jesus is your Saviour, and God the Holy Spirit is your Helper and Guide in life.
(c) You have received a new “identity” with a high “dignity” of being a son / daughter of God!
(d) You are now a Christian and full member of the Church, and you are entitled to receive other sacraments and the spiritual care, and service, of the Church.
(e) Consider what privileges you have received since you received Baptism. Do you know them?
5. Let us all be silent for a minute,
(a) Think now of who you are before God? In the eyes of Jesus? Because of the Baptism you received?
(b) Remember, you are truly a son / daughter of God, and a member of the Church. Is your life now worthy of being what you now are before God? Do you make real efforts to reject all evils and avoid sin?
(c) Don’t be a mere ‘Sunday Catholic’! Don’t be negligent to pray every night!
6. Remember the Renewal of your Baptismal Oaths
Every year in the mass on Easter Sunday, we are all called to renew the oaths we made at Baptism. Let us now renew it once again: Say after me:
(a) “Lord Jesus, in appreciation of the Baptism we received, we thank you for this sacrament. We promise you once again: “We reject the devil and all its evil ways.”
(b) “We firmly believe all that the Church teaches us to believe. Amen”
THE SACRAMENT OF CONFIRMATION
(a) The Apostle Paul went to Ephesus and found some followers of Jesus living without much faith. He asked them: “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you became believers?” They answered: “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit”. (Acts 19:1-3)
(b) Many Catholics seem not to know or to believe in the Holy Spirit. They are mere ‘Sunday Catholics’ and not interested in the Church. They seem to have no faith, they live like unbelievers.
(c) Who is the Holy Spirit?
(d) Do you believe that you have the Holy Spirit in you, if you have received Confirmation?
2. The Sacrament of Confirmation
(a) The Holy Spirit is the third Person of the Blessed Trinity, One God with the Father, and the Son. The Holy Spirit accompanied Jesus in all His life and work, when He was on earth carrying out the great task of preaching the Good News of God’s kingdom, and working miracles.
(b) The Holy Spirit came upon the apostles before they began to carry out the great task of salvation commissioned by Jesus. The Holy Spirit remained in the Church with the successors of the apostles, the Pope and Bishops to continue and perpetuate the great task of salvation.
(c) Jesus wants all, who have received Baptism, to have the Holy Spirit in them: so that they may live out their Christian vocations to be true witnesses of Jesus before others, throughout their lives on earth.
(d) Thus, Jesus instituted the sacrament of Confirmation, through which the baptised Christians receive the Holy Spirit, to be their permanent Helper and Guide in life.
3. The Rite of Confirmation
(a) Do you remember how you received Confirmation? The rite of Confirmation is very simple, but through it the Holy Spirit is truly given to you.
(b) In the rite, the Bishop prayed with his hands extended over you and asked God the Father to give you the Holy Spirit and His gifts.
(c) Then he anointed your forehead with the holy oil of Chrism, while he said: “(Name), Be sealed with the Gift of the Holy Spirit.” Then he gave you peace.
(d) The Holy Spirit came to you. Do you believe, the Holy Spirit is still in you?
4. What Gifts did God give you through Confirmation?
(a) The greatest Gift given to you through Confirmation is, the Holy Spirit Himself who came to live in you.
(b) The gifts of strong faith and hope in God, and love of God.
(c) Various graces and spiritual gifts, to help and guide you in living your life faithfully according to the Gospel of Jesus, as taught by the Church.
5. Believe and Trust in the Holy Spirit
(a) Have no doubts and firmly believe, that on the day you received Confirmation, the Holy Spirit with various gifts truly came upon you!
(b) With the presence of the Holy Spirit in you, you may confidently call God “Our Father in heaven”, and confidently say: “Jesus is Lord”.
(c) You have received the strength to follow and live the teaching of Jesus.
(d) You are assured to have the spiritual power to resist all evils and temptations.
(e) The Holy Spirit will always be with you, as long as you keep away from any serious (mortal) sin. The Holy Spirit cannot be in a person with any serious sin.
(f) The Holy Spirit will return when the serious sin is forgiven through confession.
6. Reflect on your life after Confirmation
– How have you lived your life since you received Confirmation?
– How often do you think of the Holy Spirit in your life and work?
– Remember to call, as often as you like, on the Holy Spirit in your daily work.
– Daily prayer and frequent reading of God’s Word in your life is a ‘must’ to experience the presence and help of the Holy Spirit in you.
Come back next week for Part 2 – The Sacrament of Penance & Reconciliation.