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.

Thursday, 29 March 2018 : Chrism Mass, Holy Thursday (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, 29 March 2018 : Chrism Mass, Holy Thursday (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, 29 March 2018 : Chrism Mass, Holy Thursday (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, 29 March 2018 : Chrism Mass, Holy Thursday (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.

(Holy Week) Thursday, 13 April 2017 : Holy Thursday, Chrism Mass (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this occasion we celebrate together the Chrism Mass, the moment when all of the priests and all those who had committed themselves to a life of sanctity to God renew their commitment and vow to the Lord, and it is also the occasion when the holy oils are blessed and sanctified for use in the anointing of the catechumens, the sick and also for the ordination to the holy orders.

Since ages past, oils have been used to signify an inauguration and sanctification, and they were used since those times to bless and inaugurate the rule of kings and princes, and also for the worship of the divine, being used in temples and in rituals of worship for the pagan gods and idols. And in the Scriptures, in the tradition of our faith, the holy oil has been used to anoint God’s chosen ones, on those whom God had placed His favour on, as a sign of sanctification and grace.

Therefore, when all the people who have accepted the faith come forward to receive the Sacrament of Baptism, they are also anointed with the holy oil as a sign of their anointment as the people who have been made priest, prophet and king as mentioned in the Scripture. These are the three callings which are brought upon all the people of God, the calling to be priestly, prophetic and kingly as our Lord is a Priest, a Prophet and a King.

The Lord is a Priest, the High Priest of all the people of God, for He offered sacrifice to the Lord for the sake of all of us sinners, for the oblation of our sins. He however offered not the imperfect sacrifice of animals, bulls, rams or birds. He offered Himself, His own Precious Body and Blood as a perfect offering for the absolution of all of our sins and faults.

And He is also a Prophet, for He declared the truth about Himself, about the salvation which He had brought into this world. He came declaring the Good News, to all mankind, fulfilling completely and perfectly all that the earlier prophets were speaking about Him. He brought the truth which many people refused to believe in, including all those who have persecuted Him and rejected Him.

He is also a King, for He comes into this world as the Son and Heir of David, the king whom God had placed over His people Israel. He came as a king, as the King over all other kings, for He is the Lord and Master of all, and reign as the Almighty and All-Powerful King, Whose reign was told to be never-ending, and He will bless us all His people, and love us all to the end of time.

Yet, He is also humble even though He was mighty and great. He did not boast of His greatness and glory, and instead choosing to come in humility, being born of His mother in a simple stable, and lived a lowly and humble life. He is the epitome of all priests, the One Who is the model for all of us faithful ones. We have to walk in His ways, obey Him and do as what He had done in His earthly life.

And thus, in particular, on this day and occasion we remember our holy priests, all those who have given themselves completely to the service of God, giving themselves to be the ones who are the representatives of Christ in this world. Our priests are all acting in persona Christi as they reenact the same sacrifice at Calvary, when the bread and wine are offered and blessed, transformed by the power of the Lord acting through our priests, into the very essence and substance of the Most Precious Body and Blood of our Lord.

They have consecrated themselves to the Lord, and have been offered and chosen from among us all to be those who will become the go-between between us and God. They have a difficult task ahead of them, and many of them had met various challenges, even slander and opposition. Yet, many of them courageously continued on regardless, doing the best they could to fulfil the calling and vocation to which they have been called by God.

Let us all support our priests and all those who have consecrated themselves to God, that they may be able to continue to be faithful to the vows which they had made before the Lord. Let us pray also for more vocations as we all know just how increasingly difficult the situation is for our Church, with the declining vocations to priesthood and also with the ever more and ever greater challenges to our faith due to our contemporary culture and societal norms.

Let us begin by living good and honest Christian lives, role modelling for one another, and helping each other to live in accordance to how the Lord wants us to live. Let us all strive to be a priestly people, a prophetic people and a kingly people, loving one another and giving ourselves to care for those who are in need of our help. If we all can do this and cultivate true Christian values in our lives, before long, certainly the vocations to the priesthood will bloom and flourish again.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all gather together in prayer on the occasion of this Chrism Mass, that the holy oils blessed by the Bishop will bring strength and power to all those to whom it will be given, be it to the catechumens, that they may be continuously firmed and strengthened in their faith as they journey towards baptism, and to those who are to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation, that the Holy Spirit will enter into their hearts and inflame their faith.

And last of all, let us all pray that all those who have given themselves in total commitment to the Lord as His priests will be blessed with faith and strength in their commitment to lead a life devoted to Him. Let us all pray that the holy oils blessed today will bring them the power and strength to devote themselves to their calling as it is applied on their foreheads and palms, that they will be ever ready to take up the cross of Christ at all times and follow Him.

And now that our priests had done so, let us all the laity also follow in their footsteps and walk in the way that God had shown to us. May the Lord bless us all and keep us all in His grace. May He awaken in each and every one of us the love which we ought to have for Him. God bless us all. Amen.

(Holy Week) Thursday, 13 April 2017 : 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.”