(Holy Week) Thursday, 13 April 2017 : Holy Thursday, Chrism Mass (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this occasion we celebrate together the Chrism Mass, the moment when all of the priests and all those who had committed themselves to a life of sanctity to God renew their commitment and vow to the Lord, and it is also the occasion when the holy oils are blessed and sanctified for use in the anointing of the catechumens, the sick and also for the ordination to the holy orders.

Since ages past, oils have been used to signify an inauguration and sanctification, and they were used since those times to bless and inaugurate the rule of kings and princes, and also for the worship of the divine, being used in temples and in rituals of worship for the pagan gods and idols. And in the Scriptures, in the tradition of our faith, the holy oil has been used to anoint God’s chosen ones, on those whom God had placed His favour on, as a sign of sanctification and grace.

Therefore, when all the people who have accepted the faith come forward to receive the Sacrament of Baptism, they are also anointed with the holy oil as a sign of their anointment as the people who have been made priest, prophet and king as mentioned in the Scripture. These are the three callings which are brought upon all the people of God, the calling to be priestly, prophetic and kingly as our Lord is a Priest, a Prophet and a King.

The Lord is a Priest, the High Priest of all the people of God, for He offered sacrifice to the Lord for the sake of all of us sinners, for the oblation of our sins. He however offered not the imperfect sacrifice of animals, bulls, rams or birds. He offered Himself, His own Precious Body and Blood as a perfect offering for the absolution of all of our sins and faults.

And He is also a Prophet, for He declared the truth about Himself, about the salvation which He had brought into this world. He came declaring the Good News, to all mankind, fulfilling completely and perfectly all that the earlier prophets were speaking about Him. He brought the truth which many people refused to believe in, including all those who have persecuted Him and rejected Him.

He is also a King, for He comes into this world as the Son and Heir of David, the king whom God had placed over His people Israel. He came as a king, as the King over all other kings, for He is the Lord and Master of all, and reign as the Almighty and All-Powerful King, Whose reign was told to be never-ending, and He will bless us all His people, and love us all to the end of time.

Yet, He is also humble even though He was mighty and great. He did not boast of His greatness and glory, and instead choosing to come in humility, being born of His mother in a simple stable, and lived a lowly and humble life. He is the epitome of all priests, the One Who is the model for all of us faithful ones. We have to walk in His ways, obey Him and do as what He had done in His earthly life.

And thus, in particular, on this day and occasion we remember our holy priests, all those who have given themselves completely to the service of God, giving themselves to be the ones who are the representatives of Christ in this world. Our priests are all acting in persona Christi as they reenact the same sacrifice at Calvary, when the bread and wine are offered and blessed, transformed by the power of the Lord acting through our priests, into the very essence and substance of the Most Precious Body and Blood of our Lord.

They have consecrated themselves to the Lord, and have been offered and chosen from among us all to be those who will become the go-between between us and God. They have a difficult task ahead of them, and many of them had met various challenges, even slander and opposition. Yet, many of them courageously continued on regardless, doing the best they could to fulfil the calling and vocation to which they have been called by God.

Let us all support our priests and all those who have consecrated themselves to God, that they may be able to continue to be faithful to the vows which they had made before the Lord. Let us pray also for more vocations as we all know just how increasingly difficult the situation is for our Church, with the declining vocations to priesthood and also with the ever more and ever greater challenges to our faith due to our contemporary culture and societal norms.

Let us begin by living good and honest Christian lives, role modelling for one another, and helping each other to live in accordance to how the Lord wants us to live. Let us all strive to be a priestly people, a prophetic people and a kingly people, loving one another and giving ourselves to care for those who are in need of our help. If we all can do this and cultivate true Christian values in our lives, before long, certainly the vocations to the priesthood will bloom and flourish again.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all gather together in prayer on the occasion of this Chrism Mass, that the holy oils blessed by the Bishop will bring strength and power to all those to whom it will be given, be it to the catechumens, that they may be continuously firmed and strengthened in their faith as they journey towards baptism, and to those who are to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation, that the Holy Spirit will enter into their hearts and inflame their faith.

And last of all, let us all pray that all those who have given themselves in total commitment to the Lord as His priests will be blessed with faith and strength in their commitment to lead a life devoted to Him. Let us all pray that the holy oils blessed today will bring them the power and strength to devote themselves to their calling as it is applied on their foreheads and palms, that they will be ever ready to take up the cross of Christ at all times and follow Him.

And now that our priests had done so, let us all the laity also follow in their footsteps and walk in the way that God had shown to us. May the Lord bless us all and keep us all in His grace. May He awaken in each and every one of us the love which we ought to have for Him. God bless us all. Amen.

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