Thursday, 1 April 2021 : 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, the celebration of the Holy Mass in which the holy oils are blessed, for use in various purposes. There are three types of holy oils that are to be blessed today, namely the Sacred Chrism, the Oil of the Catechumens as well as the Oil of the Sick. These oils are blessed today by the bishops of each diocese in communion and conjunction with all the priests of the respective dioceses, and in which occasion the priests and the bishop together renew their priestly vows and promises.

Let us go through the oils that are to be blessed today, one by one. First of all, the Sacred Chrism is the holy oil used for various purposes, most particularly in the Sacraments of Initiation, those of Baptism and Confirmation, to anoint the newly baptised and to confirm those who are receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation. It is distinct from the Oil of the Catechumens which is used to anoint the catechumens or those aspiring for Christian Baptism before they are to be baptised.

The Sacred Chrism is then also used for the consecration of the Altars and the dedication of the churches to God, as a mark of holiness and sanctity present in the House of God and in the Altar dedicated solely for the purpose of divine worship and the Holy Mass, as a representation of the Altar of the Lord, the Cross at Calvary. It is also reminiscent of the oil used by the prophet Samuel to anoint king David as the king of Israel, and the oils used to anoint the priests of the old Israel, as it is still also used today in the anointing of the priests and bishops of the Church.

Lastly, the Oil of the Sick is an important holy oil used in the anointing of the sick, during their Last Rites and the prayers with the hope of either a speedy recovery or a most blessed entry into the eternal life with God at the end of one’s earthly journey. The Oil of the Sick is truly a very important part of the Church and its liturgical rites, as well as its ministry to the people of God and the community. Together with all the other holy oils, they represent the holy presence of God in our midst, as we all have been marked in baptism, and some others also in priesthood, as God’s holy people, consecrated and dedicated to Him.

Today, we are all therefore called to remember our promises of faith to God, either in our Christian baptism, the promises we made at baptism to be faithful to God and to be committed to Him, to put our trust in Him as our Lord and Saviour, and to seek Him before anything else, and for some among us who have been called to the Sacred Order of Priesthood and the Episcopate, we renew also the vow of priesthood, of dedication and holiness in life in the image of Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, the High Priest of all creation.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, through today’s Scripture readings we have been reminded of the salvation which has come to us through Christ, by His coming into the world, as He Himself has proclaimed it. The Lord has graced us with His presence, and showed us His enduring love through the gift of His Son, to be Our Saviour and to rescue us from our distress and troubles. Through Him, we mankind who had once been condemned to destruction through sin, we have received the assurance of a new hope and light.

For by His sacrifice on the Cross, by willingly enduring His Passion, His suffering and death, through His wounds and His outpoured Precious Blood, He healed us from the dreadful plague of sin, and lifted us up out of the darkness. He has done so much for us, brothers and sisters in Christ, and yet, often times we still refuse to commit ourselves to Him, and we allow many temptations of this world to turn us away from His path, and causing us to slide back down into sin and darkness.

That is why, brothers and sisters in Christ, as the holy oils are blessed today and as we all renew our vows, especially for the priests and the bishops all around the world, let us all pray for each other, that we may be strengthened in faith and be more courageous to live a more Christ-like life, a more genuine Christian existence and living so that in everything that we say and do, we will always proclaim God and His truth, and glorify His Name. And especially for our priests and bishops, that they will always remain faithful to their calling and ministry.

May the Lord be with us all, and as we enter into the most sacred moments of the Easter Triduum beginning tonight, may He give us the strength and faith to live our lives wholeheartedly as Christians, dedicating ourselves to be better Christians at all times. Let us all have a blessed and most wonderful celebration of the Easter Triduum, brothers and sisters in Christ, and may God bless us always, now and forevermore. Amen.

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