Thursday, 24 March 2016 : 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 chalice after the supper, He said, “This chalice 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 chalice, you are proclaiming the death of the Lord until He comes.

Thursday, 24 March 2016 : Holy Thursday, Mass of the Lord’s Supper (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

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

The Lord remembers us and will bless us; He will bless the family of Israel; He will bless the family of Aaron; He will bless those who fear the Lord, both the small and the great.

May you be blessed by the Lord, Maker of heaven and earth. Heaven belongs to the Lord, but the earth He has given to humans.

It is not the dead who praise the Lord, for they have gone down to silence; but it is we, the living, who bless the Lord, from now on and forever.

Thursday, 24 March 2016 : 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 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.”

Thursday, 24 March 2016 : Chrism Mass (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this occasion of the Chrism Mass, we all gather together, all the priests with their respective bishops and superiors in the dioceses around the world. On this day, all those who have dedicated themselves to the Lord in either religious life or sacred priesthood renew their promises and vows to the Lord, and at the same time, the holy oils are blessed, the chrism, where the Chrism Mass got its name from.

All those who are baptised in Christ, and all those who have placed themselves on the path of God’s salvation, they all have received the anointing of the holy oils upon their forehead, as these holy oils have been blessed by God Himself through His holy priests. And it is these priests too who have also been anointed with the same holy oils, when they receive the sacrament of the Holy Orders, to become the dedicated and committed servants of our Lord Jesus Christ.

And to them the Lord has given them the same authority as He had given to the Apostles, to His disciples and faithful ones, whom He had charged with the care of the people and the flock which He had gathered in the Name of His Father. Just as David has been chosen by God to lead His people Israel as His chosen king, and he has been anointed with oil by Samuel the prophet and judge, so therefore, our priests, bishops and all who have received the Sacrament of the Holy Orders have been blessed and chosen by God. God had called them, and they have responded with faith and sincerity.

And today, all of us gather together to remember our priests and to keep them always in our prayers as they made the efforts anew, to renew together with their bishops, and also with the whole Universal Church, the vow and promise which they had made at the moment of their consecration as God’s holy and dedicated priests. And this time it is especially crucial that we pray for them and ask for our Lord’s protection over them.

Why is this so? That is because, challenges and difficulties are always out and about, seeking to challenge our Church, bringing it problems and putting obstacles in her path, and our priests and all the faithful servants of the Lord, and the workers of the fields of the Lord are at the forefront of the Church and its works, and consequently, they are the ones who are braving those challenges.

There are many difficulties facing our priests, from how they work, to what they preach to the people of God, and to even how they live their daily lives. They are in fact carrying the cross of Christ as long as they are faithful in following the commandments of God. And what is that for, brethren? It is for our own benefit and for our own salvation. They are the shepherds that God had appointed to be in charge of all of us, to lead us on the path to reach Him and the salvation in Him.

It is not easy to become a priest, and it is not easy to remain as one and staying true as one. It is just as what our Lord had said, that while the harvest is plentiful, but the labourers and workers to gather the harvest are few, and just as He asked His people to pray for the Father to send the labourers to the harvest, thus, this is what He also wanted from us, that we pray for God to send young people to join the vocation to the priesthood, to listen to God calling them in their hearts and to choose the way of dedication and commitment to God and to His people.

We too should listen to the word of God speaking deep in our hearts. It is often that we are called by the Lord to follow Him, and yet we are not willing to follow Him because of the various reasons that we have. We like to make excuses or even closing our ears and our minds, our hearts and our feelings from the Lord. And this is exactly why it is becoming ever more difficult from time to time for our Church, as there are fewer and fewer people ready to commit themselves and their lives in the service of God.

Therefore, today, as we reflect on this occasion of the Chrism Mass, let us all commit ourselves anew in our own ways. If we want to devote ourselves wholly to God, then we should take the first step and have the courage to devote ourselves and our entire beings to serving the Lord, taking up the crosses we have, and bravely enduring the challenges, to lead and guide our brethren to the Lord as His shepherds.

And if we are not to follow the Lord in the way of His chosen priests and ministers, then all of us still have our obligations as Christians, to live a good and devout life, filled with faith and obedience to God and His commandments and laws. Then, all of us who choose that path should indeed devote ourselves to help the Church and to help one another in seeking God and His salvation.

Let us all realise in each and every one of us, the role and the responsibilities we have for God and for our fellow brethren. Let us follow the Lord and do what we can to be ever obedient to Him, and to do His good works in all of our lives. May God be with us all, and bless us always. Amen.

Thursday, 24 March 2016 : Maundy 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, 24 March 2016 : Maundy 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, 24 March 2016 : Maundy 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.”