Thursday, 29 March 2018 : Chrism Mass, Holy Thursday (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, this morning we celebrate together as the whole diocese, the occasion of the Chrism Mass, the moment when annually the bishop of the diocese blesses the oils to be used in the celebrations of the Sacraments of the Church. They are the sacred chrism used in the Sacrament of Baptism and Holy Orders, the holy oil to be used in the Sacrament of Confirmation, and the oil of the sick used for those who receive the Sacrament of the Sick.

These holy oils to be blessed today are a continuation of a longstanding custom from the Scriptures itself, as if we read throughout the entirety of the Old Testament, we see in many occasions that oils are used. First of all, oil is important for life, as it is used in cooking, when the widow of Zarephath was with the prophet Elijah, she used the oil to cook food for herself, her son and for the prophet.

Then oil is also used to sanctify and dedicate an altar to God, as used by the ancient patriarchs and servants of God, the priest or the servant of God would pour the oil onto the altar, and therefore mark the altar as an altar dedicated to the greater glory of God. The use of the holy oils mark the altar as a holy place worthy of sacrificial offerings to God and as the sign of God’s holy presence.

And oil was also used to anoint kings, from Saul to David, both anointed by the prophet Samuel, as the sign of God’s grace and choice as king and ruler over the people. The oil also signifies the king at that time being elevated to the same privilege and order as the priests of God, who were also anointed with holy oils as sign of total dedication to a holy life committed to God.

And ultimately, as mentioned earlier, those holy oils are also used on the Sacraments of the Church, anointing us all as God’s chosen ones, as the ones to whom He has bestowed His grace and love, all of us who believe in Him, and therefore, commit ourselves to live in accordance with His ways. All of us are God’s chosen ones, anointed at our baptism and confirmed at our Confirmation, to be priests, kings and shepherds.

What does this mean? This means that we are all called to share in the priestly, kingly and in the leadership roles of Christ, the one and true High Priest, the King of Kings and the Good Shepherd of all the people of God. All of us are called to live upright lives and lives filled with devotion and commitment to God, ministering to one another with love, and to make evident and concrete, the Good News of God in our own daily lives, that we show others, of God’s love and truth, not just based on our words, but also based on our actions.

And today, especially let us all pray for all of our priests, all of our bishops and all those who have been ordained to the sacred order of priests, bishops and consecrated life to God. They have been called to an even higher purpose in their respective lives, all coming from various backgrounds yet called to be people consecrated to God, surrendering everything to God, and to be the ones who ‘in persona Christi’, reenact the same sacrifice at Calvary at the celebration of the Holy Mass.

The heads and the hands of the priests and bishops have been anointed with the holy oils, to show the sanctity and the importance of their role and vocation, as their hands alone are worthy to hold the Lord in the Eucharist directly, and through their hands, they will feed all of us, God’s own holy people, with His own Most Holy and Real Presence in the Body and Blood that He has laid down for us on the cross.

Let us all pray for them, these most faithful servants of God, who are often at the forefront of slander and gossiping, at the speartips of Satan’s attacks against His Church, as this great enemy of God is always ready to strike at God’s faithful ones, and he knows that if he strikes at the priests and bishops, he can cause so much harm and danger to so many of the faithful ones.

Let us give them our support and strength, our prayer and our assurance, that these holy priests and holy bishops, as well as our Pope, the Vicar of Christ and leader of the Church, will continue to persevere in their constantly ever-growing mission, to care for God’s people and to provide for the spiritual needs of the faithful, and also to bring God’s words and truth to more and more souls out there who are still lost in the darkness of the world.

May the Lord be with His Church, be with His servants and disciples, and be with all of us, that each and every one of us, anointed by the holy oils in accordance with the rites and sacraments of the Church, will grow ever more devoted to God and grow in our commitment to Him, day after day. May the Lord continue to watch over us and guide us in our journey of faith. May God bless us all. Amen.

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