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.”

Thursday, 24 March 2016 : Maundy 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. YHVH said, “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, 2 April 2015 : Maundy Thursday, Chrism Mass (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this occasion we are celebrating the Chrism Mass, which is always celebrated on the Thursday of Holy Week, also known as Maundy or Holy Thursday. On this special occasion, the bishops of each diocese will celebrate together with all of each diocese’s priests, where they will all reaffirm their promises and vows made at their ordination and consecration as anointed servants of God.

On this occasion of Chrism Mass as well, the oils to be used for various purposes are blessed and made holy. There are three types of oil, the oil of chrism for baptism and confirmation, the oil of the catechumens for the anointing of the candidates for baptism, and finally the oil of the sick, for the last unction, or the Sacrament for the Sick and Dying. These holy oils are blessed on this occasion, and the significance of it in relation to what I have mentioned earlier about priests are great.

This is all in accordance with all the readings of the Holy Scriptures today, that all of us who have chosen to take up the cross and follow our Lord Jesus had been chosen and taken out from the world to be made special and different. We were once sinners and estranged children of our Lord, but through this effort and by the grace of God, we have been made to share in the glory of Christ.

Since the ancient days of the Old Testament, anointing with the holy oils have been a special sign to the people, that whoever was anointed, was chosen by the Lord to be His servant. Saul, the first king of Israel was anointed, and so was David, whom God anointed through Samuel. The kings of Israel were anointed, and the priests of Israel, the descendants of Aaron were also anointed, since the days of Moses and the Exodus when the priesthood was first instituted.

All of us who have given ourselves to be baptised, or by our parents’ wish and decision, have been chosen from among all the people of the world, and in baptism and by anointing with the holy oil of chrism, we have become God’s children and in serving Him, we share together, the three aspects of Christ, namely His Kingship, His Priesthood and His service to God as a faithful servant.

And those of us who have chosen to deepen our faith and do more for the Lord, by joining the sacred order of priesthood and the ordained ministry, we have been anointed and chosen even more by our Lord to do ever more things for His glory and for the good and salvation of all mankind, our brethren. It is to remind us, with this occasion of Chrism Mass, the dedication and the commitment which all of us ought to have for the Lord and for His people.

All of us have our duties and obligations, the responsibilities which all of us should take up together as the members of God’s Church. We have many tasks to do, beginning of course from ourselves, to change our ways so that our own lives will be more attuned and in line with the ways of the Lord, and so that we may show to others how to follow the Lord and walk in His ways.

We have our responsibilities to take care of one another to grow in faith. Rather than be disgusted by one’s wickedness and condemning others because of that wickedness, it is better for us to learn to accept each other’s weakness and work together to be better and more faithful servant of the Lord. We have to be awakened to our responsibilities and learn how to take up the crosses of our life, and contribute to make a difference.

Today as we bless this oil, of catechumens, of chrism, and those of the sick, let us all renew our faith, dedication and devotion to the Lord, and renew our commitment, which we ought to show through our actions, and in how we interact with one another. Let us all remember that all of us have been called and made holy, as a priestly people, a royal people and a people dedicated to the Lord, so that we may share together the love and grace of God, for the good and salvation of all mankind. God be with us always. Amen.

Thursday, 2 April 2015 : 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.”