Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this occasion of the Chrism Mass celebrated on the morning hours of the Holy Thursday, at the beginning of Paschal Triduum, when the holy oils to be used for the entire liturgical year will be presented and blessed, in the presence of the entire presbyterate, all the priests of each dioceses united to their respective bishops, in the sign of unity and service to God, and a renewal of their commitment to serve God and His people.
That is why today’s Scripture passages for the Chrism Mass showed us all the true nature and importance of the consecrated and priestly vocation, those who have been called and chosen by God, to be His own servants, to be the ones through whom God wants to bring us all together again, as the intermediary between Him and all of us via their role as the representatives of Our Lord Jesus Christ, acting ‘in Persona Christi’ during the celebration of the Holy Mass and in the administration of the Sacraments.
And every year, at this occasion of the Chrism Mass, the whole diocese, the bishop and his priests, gather together to celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, to renew their commitment to serve the Lord faithfully despite all the challenges, difficulties and the many obstacles that each and every one of them must have encountered along their journey and throughout their respective ministries among the people of God.
In the first reading and in the Gospel passage today, we heard of the important roles that each of the priests and all those who have dedicated themselves to the Lord’s service are required to do, in administering to the people of God, and in obeying God’s will and bringing good deeds to the people, in reaching out to the poor and the needy, in extending their hands and efforts to help those who are marginalised, ostracised, and even more importantly, those who have fallen into sin.
Unfortunately, many of the priests today have often fallen into a state of laxity and complacency in carrying out their missions to which they have been called to do. And sadly, some among them even succumbed to the temptations of the world, and as widely reported in various occasions recently, they caused scandal to rock the whole foundation of the Church, and caused many others to lose their faith in God, because of the most unbecoming attitudes of these priests.
And this is what happens when those who have embraced the calling to priesthood failed or forgot to realise what it is that they have been called to do, that is to be the very image and representation of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the one true High Priest of all, and the model of all of our priests. When they instead behave with pride, desiring attention and fame, putting themselves at the limelight and become the focus of personal attention during the celebrations of the Mass and in other occasions instead of putting the Lord first, these are the causes of the downfall of many of our priests.
The Lord Himself has shown all of us, what true priesthood is all about. It is about loving service rendered faithfully and selflessly to God, and by extension, to all of fellow mankind. The Lord Jesus loved His heavenly Father, obeyed Him and listened to Him in all things, and fulfilled the most important mission He has been entrusted to, the focus of our sacred Paschal Triduum celebrations, that is to suffer for our sins, to bear the burden of the cross of our iniquities, and to die for our sake on that same cross.
The Lord was not prideful, but instead was humble, so humble that even though He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords, yet, He stripped Himself of all glory, honour and power, of all prestige and even human dignity, lowering Himself to the condition of a servant and slave. When at the Last Supper, that we are all going to celebrate later tonight at the Mass of Our Lord’s Supper, He took off His garment, and wearing the vesture of a servant, washed the feet of each of His disciples, a work that only servants did.
He became a servant to all, so that He might show us all, how each and every one of us, and especially our priests and all those who have been called to the sacred, consecrated life, ought to act in their own lives and in their own respective calling. And if each and every one of us has kept steady focus on the examples and the inspiration that the Lord Himself has shown us, it would have been much more difficult for the devil to cause us to stumble and create scandal among the faithful.
Today, let us all put our prayers together for our priests, for our bishops, for all those who have been entrusted with the governance and guidance of the entire Universal Church in their various capacities, and for our Pope, the leader of the Universal Church. Let us all pray that many of them, who remain truly faithful to the calling of their ministry of priesthood, will continue to remain faithful and devoted to the same calling that they have received, that they will be able to commit themselves wholeheartedly and resist the temptations to sin.
And for us all, let us all also make the same commitment to live righteous and God-abiding lives from now on, and do our best in our various capacities, as the members of the Body of Christ the Church, that we support the works and the efforts of the priesthood, so that each and every one of us will be able to join our efforts and contribute enormously to the many good works of the Church, supporting those who are at the forefront of the spiritual warfare of this world, namely, our holy priests.
May the Lord continue to guide and bless them, and may He grant them the strength and the courage to carry out their missions faithfully, that they will continue to show us the examples of Christ and inspire us with their own selfless service and love, that we too may follow in their examples and be people worthy of God and His love. Amen.