Thursday, 9 April 2020 : Holy Thursday, Mass of the Lord’s Supper (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 13 : 1-15

At that time, it was before the feast of the Passover. Jesus realised that His hour had come, to pass from this world to the Father; and as He had loved those who were His own in the world, He would love them with perfect love.

They were at supper, and the devil had already put into the mind of Judas, son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Him. Jesus knew that the Father had entrusted all things to Him, and as He had come from God, He was going to God. So He got up from the table, removed His garment, and taking a towel, wrapped it around His waist. Then He poured water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel He was wearing.

When He came to Simon Peter, Simon asked Him, “Why, Lord, do You want to wash my feet?” Jesus said, “What I am doing you cannot understand now, but afterwards you will understand it.” Peter replied, “You shall never wash my feet!” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you can have no part with Me.”

Then Simon Peter said, “Lord, wash not only my feet, but also my hands and my head!” Jesus replied, “Whoever has taken a bath does not need to wash (except the feet), for he is clean all over. You are clean, though not all of you.” Jesus knew who was to betray Him; because of this He said, “Not all of you are clean.”

When Jesus had finished washing their feet, He put on His garment again, went back to the table, and said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You call Me Master and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I, then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet, you also must wash one another’s feet. I have just given you an example, that as I have done, you also may do.”

Thursday, 9 April 2020 : Holy Thursday, Mass of the Lord’s Supper (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

1 Corinthians 11 : 23-26

This is the tradition of the Lord that I received and that in my turn I have handed on to you; the Lord Jesus, on the night that He was delivered up, took bread and, after giving thanks, broke it, saying, “This is My Body which is broken for you; do this in memory of Me.”

In the same manner, taking the cup after the supper, He said, “This cup is the new Covenant in My Blood. Whenever you drink it, do it in memory of Me.” So, then, whenever you eat of this bread and drink from this cup, you are proclaiming the death of the Lord until He comes.

Thursday, 9 April 2020 : Holy Thursday, Mass of the Lord’s Supper (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 115 : 12-13, 15-16bc, 17-18

How can I repay the Lord for all His goodness to Me? I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the Name of the Lord.

It is painful to the Lord to see the death of His faithful. Truly Your servant, Your handmaid’s Son. You have freed Me from My bonds.

I will offer You a thanksgiving sacrifice; I will call on the Name of the Lord. I will carry out My vows to the Lord in the presence of His people.

Thursday, 9 April 2020 : Holy Thursday, Mass of the Lord’s Supper (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Exodus 12 : 1-8, 11-14

YHVH spoke to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt and said, “This month is to be the beginning of all months, the first month of your year. Speak to the community of Israel and say to them : On the tenth day of this month let each family take a lamb, a lamb for each house. If the family is too small for a lamb, they must join with a neighbour, the nearest to the house, according to the number of persons, and to what each one can eat.”

“You will select a perfect lamb without blemish, a male born during the present year, taken from the sheep or goats. Then you will keep it until the fourteenth day of the month. On that evening all the people will slaughter their lambs and take some of the blood to put on the doorposts and on top of the doorframes of the houses where you eat. That night you will eat the flesh roasted at the fire with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.”

“And this is how you will eat : with a belt round your waist, sandals on your feet and a staff in your hand. You shall eat hastily for it is a Passover in honour of YHVH. On that night I shall go through Egypt and strike every firstborn in Egypt, men and animals; and I will even bring judgment on all of the gods of Egypt, I, YHVH! The blood on your houses will be the sign that you are there. I will see the blood and pass over you; and you will escape the mortal plague when I strike Egypt.”

“This is a day you are to remember and celebrate in honour of YHVH. It is to be kept as a festival day for all generations forever.”

(Usus Antiquior) Holy Thursday, Solemn Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper (I Classis) – Thursday, 9 April 2020 : Washing of the Feet

Liturgical Colour : Violet

First Antiphon

John 13 : 34 and Psalm 118 : 1

Mandatum novum do vobis : ut diligatis invicem, sicut dilexi vos, dicit Dominus.

Beati immaculati in via : qui ambulant in lege Domini.

Response : Mandatum novum do vobis : ut diligatis invicem, sicut dilexi vos, dicit Dominus.

 

English translation

A new commandment I give unto you, that you love one another as I have loved you, says the Lord.

Blessed are the undefiled in their ways, who walk in the Law of the Lord.

Response : A new commandment I give unto you, that you love one another as I have loved you, says the Lord.

 

Second Antiphon

John 13 : 4, 5, 15 and Psalm 47 : 2

Postquam surrexit Dominus a cena, misit aquam in pelvim, et coepit lavare pedes discipulorum suorum : hoc exemplum reliquit eis.

Magnus Dominus, et laudabilis nimis : in civitate Dei nostri, in monte sancto ejus.

Response : Postquam surrexit Dominus a cena, misit aquam in pelvim, et coepit lavare pedes discipulorum suorum : hoc exemplum reliquit eis.

 

English translation

When the Lord rose from supper, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the feet of His disciples, this was the example He gave unto them.

Great is the Lord and exceedingly to be praised in the city of our God in His holy mountain.

Response : When the Lord rose from supper, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the feet of His disciples, this was the example He gave unto them.

 

Third Antiphon

John 13 : 12, 13, 15 and Psalm 84 : 2

Dominus Jesus, postquam cenavit cum discipulis suis, lavit pedes eorum, et ait illis : Scitis, quid fecerim vobis ego, Dominus et Magister? Exemplum dedi vobis, ut et vos ita faciatis.

Benedixisti, Domine, terram Tuam : avertisti captivitatem Jacob.

Response : Dominus Jesus, postquam cenavit cum discipulis suis, lavit pedes eorum, et ait illis : Scitis, quid fecerim vobis ego, Dominus et Magister? Exemplum dedi vobis, ut et vos ita faciatis.

 

English translation

The Lord Jesus after He had supper with His disciples washed their feet and said, “Know all of you what I your Lord and Master have done to you? I have given you an example so that you will also do.”

Lord, You have blessed Your land, You have turned away the captivity of Jacob.

Response : The Lord Jesus after He had supper with His disciples washed their feet and said, “Know all of you what I your Lord and Master have done to you? I have given you an example so that you will also do.”

 

Fourth Antiphon

John 13 : 6-7, 8

Domine, Tu mihi lavas pedes? Respondit Jesus et dixit ei : Si non lavero tibi pedes, non habebis partem mecum.

Priest : Venit ergo ad Simonem Petrum, et dixit ei Petrus.

Response : Domine, Tu mihi lavas pedes? Respondit Jesus et dixit ei : Si non lavero tibi pedes, non habebis partem mecum.

Priest : Quod ego facio, tu nescis modo : scies autem postea.

Response : Domine, Tu mihi lavas pedes? Respondit Jesus et dixit ei : Si non lavero tibi pedes, non habebis partem mecum.

 

English translation

“Lord, do You wash my feet?” Jesus answered and said to him, “If I do not wash your feet, you shall have no part with Me.”

Priest : He came therefore to Simon Peter and Peter said to Him,

Response : “Lord, do You wash my feet?” Jesus answered and said to him, “If I do not wash your feet, you shall have no part with Me.”

Priest : “What I do, You do not know now, but you shall understand hereafter.”

Response : “Lord, do You wash my feet?” Jesus answered and said to him, “If I do not wash your feet, you shall have no part with Me.”

 

Fifth Antiphon

John 13 : 14-15 and Psalm 48 : 2

Si ego, Dominus et Magister vester, lavi vobis pedes : quanto magis debetis alter alterius lavare pedes?

Audite haec, omnes gentes : auribus percipite, qui habitatis orbem.

Response : Si ego, Dominus et Magister vester, lavi vobis pedes : quanto magis debetis alter alterius lavare pedes?

 

English translation

If I, being your Lord and Master, have washed your feet, how much more you ought to wash one another’s feet?

Hear these things, all you nations, give ear, all you inhabitants of the world.

Response : If I, being your Lord and Master, have washed your feet, how much more you ought to wash one another’s feet?

 

Sixth Antiphon

John 13 : 35

In hoc cognoscent omnes, quia discipuli mei estis, si dilectionem habueritis ad invicem.

Priest : Dixit Jesus discipulis suis.

Response : In hoc cognoscent omnes, quia discipuli mei estis, si dilectionem habueritis ad invicem.

 

English translation

By this all men shall know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.

Priest : Said Jesus to His disciples.

Response : By this all men shall know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.

 

Seventh Antiphon

1 Corinthians 13 : 13

Maneat in vobis fides, spes, caritas, tria haec : major autem horum est caritas.

Priest : Nunc autem manent fides, spes, caritas, tria haec : major horum est caritas.

Response : Maneat in vobis fides, spes, caritas, tria haec : major autem horum est caritas.

 

English translation

Ever may there remain in you faith, hope, charity, these three things, but the greater of these is charity.

Priest : And now there remain faith, hope and charity, these three, but the greatest of these is charity.

Response : Ever may there remain in you faith, hope, charity, these three things, but the greater of these is charity.

 

Last Antiphon

1 John

Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est.

Response : Congregavit nos in unum Christi amor.

Response : Exsultemus et in ipso jucundemur.

Response : Timeamus et amemus Deum vivum.

Response : Et ex corde diligamus nos sincero.

Response : Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est.

Response : Simul ergo cum in unum congregamur.

Response : Ne nos mente dividamur, caveamus.

Response : Cessent jurgia maligna, cessent lites.

Response : Et in medio nostri sit Christus Deus.

Response : Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est.

Response : Simul quoque cum Beatis videamus.

Response : Glorianter vultum tuum, Christe Deus.

Response : Gaudium, quod est immensum atque probum.

Response : Saecula per infinita saeculorum. Amen.

 

English translation

Where there are charity and love, God is there.

Response : The love of Christ had gathered us together.

Response : Let us exult and be joyful in Him.

Response : Let us fear and love the living God.

Response : And let us love one another with sincere hearts.

Response : Where there are charity and love, God is there.

Response : Being therefore, assembled together.

Response : Let us beware of being divided in mind.

Response : Let malicious upbraidings cease, let wranglings cease.

Response : And may Christ, our God, be in the midst of us.

Response : Where there are charity and love, God is there.

Response : Together with the blessed, too, may we see.

Response : Your face in glory, o Christ, God.

Response : Which is infinitely noble joy.

Response : Through endless ages of ages. Amen.

 

Prayers after the Antiphon

Priest : Pater Noster qui es in caeli, sanctificetur Nomen Tuum, adveniat regnum Tuum, fiat voluntas Tua, sicut in caelo et in terra. Panem nostrum cotidianum da nobis hodie, et dimitte nobis debita nostra, sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris. Et ne nos inducas in tentationem.

Response : Sed libera nos a malo.

Priest : Tu mandasti mandata Tua, Domine.

Response : Custodiri nimis.

Priest : Tu lavasti pedes discipulorum Tuorum.

Response : Opera manuum Tuarum ne despicias.

Priest : Domine, exaudi orationem meam.

Response : Et clamor meus ad Te veniat.

Priest : Dominus vobiscum.

Response : Et cum spiritu tuo.

Oremus

Adesto, Domine, quaesumus, officio servitutis nostrae : et quia Tu discipulis Tuis pedes lavare dignatus es, ne despicias opera manuum Tuarum, quae nobis retinenda mandasti : ut, sicut hic nobis et a nobis exteriora abluuntur inquinamenta; sic a Te omnium nostrum interiora laventur peccata. Quod ipse praestare digneris, qui vivis et regnas Deus : per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

 

English translation

Our Father in heaven, Holy be Your Name, Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses just as we have forgiven those who trespassed against us. And lead us not into temptation.

Response : But deliver us from evil.

Priest : You have given us Your commandments, o Lord.

Response : To be exactly observed.

Priest : You had washed the feet of Your disciples.

Response : Do not despise the work of Your hands.

Priest : O Lord, hear my prayer.

Response : And let my cry come unto You.

Priest : The Lord is with you.

Response : And with your spirit.

Let us pray

Be present, o Lord, we beseech You, at the office of our service, and because You had deigned to wash the feet of Your disciples, do not despise the work which Your own hands had performed, and which You had commanded us to perpetuate, so that, as external defilements are thus washed away for us and by us, the inward sins of all of us may be washed by You. Which You had vouchsafed to do for us Yourself, You who lives and reigns, God forever and ever. Amen.

(Usus Antiquior) Holy Thursday, Solemn Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper (I Classis) – Thursday, 9 April 2020 : Holy Gospel

Liturgical Colour : Violet

Sequentia Sancti Evangelii secundum Joannem – Continuation of the Holy Gospel according to St. John

John 13 : 1-15

Ante diem festum Paschae, sciens Jesus, quia venit hora ejus, ut transeat ex hoc mundo ad Patrem : cum dilexisset suos, qui erant in mundo, in finem dilexit eos. Et cena facta, cum diabolus jam misisset in cor, ut traderet eum Judas Simonis Iscariotae : sciens, quia omnia dedit ei Pater in manus, et quia a Deo exivit, et ad Deum vadit : surgit a cena et ponit vestimenta sua : et cum accepisset linteum, praecinxit se.

Deinde mittit aquam in pelvim, et coepit lavare pedes discipulorum, et extergere linteo, quo erat praecinctus. Venit ergo ad Simonem Petrum. Et dicit ei Petrus : Domine, Tu mihi lavas pedes? Respondit Jesus et dixit ei : Quod ego facio, tu nescis modo, scies autem postea. Dicit ei Petrus : Non lavabis mihi pedes in aeternum. Respondit ei Jesus : Si non lavaro te, non habebis partem mecum.

Dicit ei Simon Petrus : Domine, non tantum pedes meos, sed et manus et caput. Dicit ei Jesus : Qui lotus est, non indiget nisi ut pedes lavet, sed est mundus totus. Et vos mundi estis, sed non omnes. Sciebat enim, quisnam esset, qui traderet eum : proptera dixit : Non estis mundi omnes.

Postquam ergo lavit pedes eorum et accepit vestimenta sua : cum recubuisset iterum, dixit eis : Scitis, quid fecerim vobis? Vos vocatis me Magister et Domine : et bene dicitis : sum etenim. Si ergo ego lavi pedes vestros, Dominus et Magister : et vos debetis alter alterius lavare pedes. Exemplum enim dedi vobis, ut, quemadmodum ergo feci vobis, ita et vos faciatis.

 

English translation

Before the festival day of the Pascha, Jesus knowing that His hour had come, that He should pass out of this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them unto the end. And when supper was done, the devil now had put into the heart of Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Him. Knowing that the Father had given Him all things into His hands and that He came from God and would go to God.

He rose from the supper and laid aside His garments and having taken a towel, He girded Himself. After that, He put water into a basin and began to wash the feet of the disciples and wiped them with the towel with which He was girded. He came therefore to Simon Peter, and Peter said to Him, “Lord, do You wash my feet?” Jesus answered and said to him, “What I do, you do not know now, but you shall understand hereafter.” Peter said to Him, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you shall have no part with Me.”

Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, not only my feet, but also my hands and my head.” Jesus said to him, “He who washed only needs to wash his feet, and he is already wholly clean, but not all of you.” For He knew who was to betray Him, and therefore He said, “You are not all clean.”

Then after He had washed their feet and taken His garments, He sat down again and said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call Me Master and Lord, and you say it well, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that as I have done to you, so you also should do.”

(Usus Antiquior) Holy Thursday, Solemn Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper (I Classis) – Thursday, 9 April 2020 : Gradual

Liturgical Colour : Violet

Gradual

Philippians 2 : 8-9

Christus factus est pro nobis oboediens usque ad mortem, mortem autem crucis.

Response : Propter quod et Deus exaltavit illum : et dedit illi Nomen, quod est super omne nomen.

 

English translation

Christ became obedient for us unto death, even the death on the cross.

Response : Therefore God also had exalted Him, and had given Him a Name which is above every name.

(Usus Antiquior) Holy Thursday, Solemn Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper (I Classis) – Thursday, 9 April 2020 : Epistle

Liturgical Colour : Violet

Lectio Epistolae Beati Pauli Apostoli ad Corinthios – Lesson from the Epistle of Blessed Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians

1 Corinthians 11 : 20-32

Fratres : Convenientibus vobis in unum, jam non est Dominicam cenam manducare, Unusquisque enim suam cenam praesumit ad manducandum. Et alius quidem esurit : alius autem ebrius est. Numquid domos non habetis ad manducandum et bibendum? Aut ecclesiam Dei contemnitis, et confunditis eos, qui non habent? Quid dicam vobis? Laudo vos? In hoc non laudo.

Ego enim accepi a Domino quod et tradidi vobis, quoniam Dominus Jesus, in qua nocte tradebatur, accepit panem, et gratias agens fregit, et dixit : Accipite, et manducate : hoc est Corpus Meum, quod pro vobis tradetur : hoc facite in Meam commemorationem.

Similiter et calicem, postquam cenavit, dicens : Hic calix novum Testamentum est in Meo Sanguine : hoc facite, quotiescumque bibetis, in Meam commemorationem. Quotiescumque enim manducabitis panem hunc et calicem bibetis : mortem Domini annuntiabitis, donec veniat.

Itaque quicumque manducaverit panem hunc vel biberit calicem Domini indigne, reus erit Corporis et Sanguinis Domini. Probet autem seipsum homo : et sic de pane illo edat et de calice bibat. Qui enim manducat et bibit indigne, judicium sibi manducat et bibit : non dijudicans Corpus Domini. Ideo inter vos multi infirmi et imbecilles, et dormiunt multi. Quod si nosmetipsos dijudicaremus, non utique judicaremur. Dum judicamur autem, a Domino corripimur, ut non cum hoc mundo damnemur.

 

English translation

Brethren, when you come therefore together into one place, it is not now to eat the Lord’s supper. For everyone takes, before, his own supper to eat. And one indeed is hungry and another is drunk. What, do you have no houses to eat or to drink in? Or do you so despise the Church of God and put those to shame, those who does not have? What shall I say to you? Do I praise you? In this I do not praise you.

For I have received of the Lord that which I also delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus, on the same night in which He was betrayed, took bread, and giving thanks, broke it and said, “Take all of you and eat. This is My Body, which shall be delivered for you. Do this for the commemoration of Me.”

In like manner He also did to the chalice, after the supper had ended, saying, “This chalice is the New Testament in My Blood. Do this all of you, as often as you shall drink, for the commemoration of Me.” For as often as you shall eat this bread and drink the chalice, you shall show the death of the Lord, until He comes.

Therefore, whosoever shall eat this bread, or drink of the chalice of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the Body and the Blood of the Lord. But let a man prove himself, and so let him eat of that bread and drink of the chalice. For he who eats and drinks unworthily, eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Body of the Lord. Therefore there are many infirm and weak among you, and many sleep. But if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But while we are judged, we are chastised by the Lord, that we should not be condemned with this world.

(Usus Antiquior) Holy Thursday, Solemn Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper (I Classis) – Thursday, 9 April 2020 : Introit and Collect

Liturgical Colour : Violet

Introit

Galatians 6 : 14 and Psalm 66 : 2-4

Nos autem gloriari oportet in Cruce Domini nostri Jesu Christi : in quo est salus, vita et resurrectio nostra : per quem salvati et liberati sumus.

Response : Deus misereatur nostri, et benedicat nobis : illuminet vultum suum super nos, et misereatur nostri. Nos autem gloriari oportet in Cruce Domini nostri Jesu Christi : in quo est salus, vita et resurrectio nostra : per quem salvati et liberati sumus.

Response : Ut cognoscamus in terra viam Tuam : in omnibus gentibus salutare Tuum. Nos autem gloriari oportet in Cruce Domini nostri Jesu Christi : in quo est salus, vita et resurrectio nostra : per quem salvati et liberati sumus.

Response : Confiteantur tibi populi, Deus : confiteantur tibi populi omnes. Nos autem gloriari oportet in Cruce Domini nostri Jesu Christi : in quo est salus, vita et resurrectio nostra : per quem salvati et liberati sumus.

English translation

But it behooves us to the glory in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, in whom is our salvation, life, and resurrection, by whom we are saved and delivered.

Response : May God have mercy on us, and bless us. May He cause the light of His countenance to shine upon us, and may He have mercy on us. But it behooves us to the glory in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, in whom is our salvation, life, and resurrection, by whom we are saved and delivered.

Response : That we may know Your way upon the earth, Your salvation among all nations. But it behooves us to the glory in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, in whom is our salvation, life, and resurrection, by whom we are saved and delivered.

Response : Let the peoples praise You, o God. Let the peoples praise You. But it behooves us to the glory in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, in whom is our salvation, life, and resurrection, by whom we are saved and delivered.

 

Collect

Deus, a quo et Judas reatus sui poenam, et confessionis suae latro praemium sumpsit, concede nobis Tuae propitiationis effectum : ut, sicut in passione sua Jesus Christus, Dominus noster, diversa utriusque intulit stipendia meritorum; ita nobis, ablato vetustatis errore, resurrectionis suae gratiam largiatur. Qui Tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

 

English translation

O God, whom Judas received the punishment of his crime, and the thief the reward of his confession, grant us the effect of Your clemency, that as Jesus Christ, our Lord, in His passion dealt according to their deserts with the one and the other, so, putting away from us the error of the past, He may bestow upon us the grace of His resurrection. Who with You lives and reigns in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end. Amen.

Thursday, 9 April 2020 : Holy Thursday, Chrism Mass (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we celebrate the Chrism Mass which is the time when all the holy oils are blessed and made ready for the use in the diocese. On this day also all priests ordained to serve the Lord in sacred ordination renew their commitment to God and are called to remember the sacred vow and promise they have made before God and their bishops, to obey the laws of the Church and to be dedicated in their works and ministry of the Sacraments to the people of God.

The Lord has called those priests to serve Him, that those who responded to this call to the holy order of priesthood be endowed with the Holy Spirit of God, consecrated and made holy, set apart from others to be the ones to shepherd His people. The Lord has brought His light to the people He loved through these priests, as these are called to reflect His light and love, and bring them to the people who are still living in the darkness of this world.

And especially for this year, the significance of what we celebrate this morning at the Chrism Mass is even greater, in light of the current terrible pandemic that had engulfed most of the world and caused so many deaths and many more people who are sick because of this pandemic. It is not just because the holy oils are used for many good purposes, one of which, the Oil for the Sick or Oleum Infirmarum is used for the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick, but also because many of our priests are also at the frontline tending to many of the people.

Yes, brothers and sisters in Christ, it is not just the doctors and nurses who are at the forefront of this fight against the coronavirus pandemic and other diseases. The priests and all the servants of God are also at the forefront of an even greater battle, the battle against despair and against falsehoods, against all sorts of wickedness that already exist in this world and more of others that have sprung up because of this current dire situation. We have seen how people suffer in despair, losing hope and acting irrationally because of all these, a lot of selfish and terrible attitudes shown all these past few weeks.

We have seen how people can be so nasty against each other, and we have seen how people are divided against each other. And all these are caused by the lack of faith in many, and our priests are still on the forefront of that spiritual battle, the battle of faith for those souls. It is not enough that we just save the person physically but also spiritually as well. Of course the current efforts done by the doctors, nurses and other healthcare warriors are extremely important, but we must not forget our spiritual healthcare warriors, that is our priests and all the ordained ministers of God.

We may have heard how priests in various places around the world tried their best to reach out to their flock through various means, some through online conferencing and meetings, some through online activities, or even arranging smaller scale activities. We heard of how priests travelled around the empty roads and streets, bringing the Blessed Sacrament on the monstrance, that people who are locked in their homes due to quarantine may still feel the presence of God in their midst and not lose hope.

And we may have heard also how many priests have even died because of the pandemic. Some of them died from the disease while they ministered to the people whom they cared for so much, those who were without hope and those who were sick and dying. That is the reality of the works and the lives of our priests, brothers and sisters in Christ. To follow the Lord as how our priests have been called to, is truly a great cross to be carried, in the footsteps of the Lord Himself. Many had indeed responded to this call, as we have just discussed.

It is important therefore that today we spend some time to pray for our brave and courageous priests, all those who have given their lives for the service of the Lord and His Church. Let us all pray that they may be given the strength, the courage and the energy to continue to serve the people of God despite all the challenges and difficulties that they may be facing. Let us always give them our support and encouragement, for they are indeed the pillars that support the Church and our Christian communities together in this difficult time.

We should give encouragement to our priests, as many of them are definitely stressed up with many concerns and works at the moment. Many of them had to make many sacrifices of time and energy to support us in turn during this difficult moment. They are using the same holy oils blessed today to bless many of our houses and hospitals, and more importantly to anoint the sick and the dying ones among us. They need our prayer and support, and we should be more united with them and the whole Church during this time of crisis.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all therefore today at this celebration of the Chrism Mass implore the Lord to send His Holy Spirit to all of our priests to sanctify them and to strengthen them, that they may remain strong and resolute despite all the challenges that they may face. Let us all stay united with them in prayer, and work together to keep up hope despite all the darkness, fears and uncertainties. Let us also prepare ourselves wholeheartedly to prepare for the celebration of the Easter Triduum beginning tonight and be ready to celebrate the upcoming glory of Easter.

May the Lord also give us His strength and hope that we too may be strong and courageous like our brave and faithful priests, that we too may be bearers of hope and the light of God to encourage our fellow brethren in this time of great need. May God bless us always, now and forevermore. Amen.