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.

Thursday, 1 April 2021 : Holy Thursday, Chrism Mass (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 4 : 16-21

At that time, when Jesus came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath, as He usually did. He stood up to read, and they handed Him the book of the prophet Isaiah.

Jesus then unrolled the scroll and found the place where it is written : “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me. He has anointed Me to bring good news to the poor, to proclaim liberty to captives and new sight to the blind; to free the oppressed and to announce the Lord’s year of mercy.”

Jesus then rolled up the scroll, gave it to the attendant and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on Him. Then He said to them, “Today these prophetic words come true, even as you listen.”

Thursday, 1 April 2021 : Holy Thursday, Chrism Mass (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Revelations 1 : 5-8

And from Jesus Christ, the faithful Witness, the Firstborn of the dead, the Ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him Who loves us and has washed away our sins with His own Blood, making us a kingdom and priests for God His Father, to Him be the glory and power forever and ever. Amen.

See He comes with the clouds and everyone will see Him, even those who pierced Him; on His account all the nations of the earth will beat his breast. Yes. It will be so. “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, He Who is, Who was and Who is to come : the Master of the universe.

Thursday, 1 April 2021 : Holy Thursday, Chrism Mass (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 88 : 21-22, 25 and 27

I have found David my servant, and with My holy oil I have anointed him. My hand will be ever with him and My arm will sustain him.

My faithfulness and love will be with him, and by My help he will be strong. He will call on Me, ‘You are my Father, my God, my Rock, my Saviour.’

Thursday, 1 April 2021 : Holy Thursday, Chrism Mass (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Isaiah 61 : 1-3a, 6a, 8b-9

The Spirit of the Lord YHVH is upon Me, because YHVH has anointed Me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent Me to bind up broken hearts, to proclaim liberty to the captives, freedom to those languishing in prison; to announce the year of YHVH’s favour and the day of vengeance of our God; to give comfort to all who grieve; (to comfort those who mourn in Zion) and give them a garland instead of ashes.

But you will be named priests of YHVH, you will be called ministers of our God. I will give them their due reward and make an everlasting covenant with them. Their descendants shall be known among the nations and their offspring among the peoples. All who see them will acknowledge that they are a race YHVH has blessed.

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.

Thursday, 9 April 2020 : Holy Thursday, Chrism Mass (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 4 : 16-21

At that time, when Jesus came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath, as He usually did. He stood up to read, and they handed Him the book of the prophet Isaiah.

Jesus then unrolled the scroll and found the place where it is written : “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me. He has anointed Me to bring good news to the poor, to proclaim liberty to captives and new sight to the blind; to free the oppressed and to announce the Lord’s year of mercy.”

Jesus then rolled up the scroll, gave it to the attendant and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on Him. Then He said to them, “Today these prophetic words come true, even as you listen.”

Thursday, 9 April 2020 : Holy Thursday, Chrism Mass (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Revelations 1 : 5-8

And from Jesus Christ, the faithful Witness, the Firstborn of the dead, the Ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him Who loves us and has washed away our sins with His own Blood, making us a kingdom and priests for God His Father, to Him be the glory and power forever and ever. Amen.

See He comes with the clouds and everyone will see Him, even those who pierced Him; on His account all the nations of the earth will beat his breast. Yes. It will be so. “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, He Who is, Who was and Who is to come : the Master of the universe.

Thursday, 9 April 2020 : Holy Thursday, Chrism Mass (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 88 : 21-22, 25 and 27

I have found David my servant, and with My holy oil I have anointed him. My hand will be ever with him and My arm will sustain him.

My faithfulness and love will be with him, and by My help he will be strong. He will call on Me, ‘You are my Father, my God, my Rock, my Saviour.’

Thursday, 9 April 2020 : Holy Thursday, Chrism Mass (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Isaiah 61 : 1-3a, 6a, 8b-9

The Spirit of the Lord YHVH is upon Me, because YHVH has anointed Me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent Me to bind up broken hearts, to proclaim liberty to the captives, freedom to those languishing in prison; to announce the year of YHVH’s favour and the day of vengeance of our God; to give comfort to all who grieve; (to comfort those who mourn in Zion) and give them a garland instead of ashes.

But you will be named priests of YHVH, you will be called ministers of our God. I will give them their due reward and make an everlasting covenant with them. Their descendants shall be known among the nations and their offspring among the peoples. All who see them will acknowledge that they are a race YHVH has blessed.