Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Mass of Chrism 2010 in This Year of the Priest

Today, I attended the Chrism Mass. It was a good reminder to pray for our priests. And oh, how we need to pray for vocations! At my church, we are actually blessed to have three priests. It is the largest church in our diocese. It is for this reason that we were privileged to host the celebration of this Mass in which the blessing of the holy oils takes place each year.
  • The Oil of the Catechumens is used during the Rite of Infant Baptism. It is also used to bless the adult catechumens during their study and preparation for Baptism at the Easter Vigil Mass.
  • The Oil of the Sick is used by the priest when giving the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick. It is to bring comfort and sometimes even physical healing to the sick.
  • The Sacred Chrism, an oil mixed with perfumed balsam, is used to anoint the newly baptized, to seal candidates for the Sacrament of Confirmation, to anoint the hands of priests at their ordination and to consecrate an altar or new Church.
In addition to the blessing of the holy oils, the Chrism Mass is also a time for the priests of the diocese to renew their sacred vows to serve God in and through their priestly ministry. We are reminded in the second reading from this Mass of the priesthood of Our Lord Jesus Christ from which all priests receive their call to serve.
From Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead and ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, who has made us into a kingdom, priests for his God and Father, to him be glory and power forever (and ever). Amen. Behold, he is coming amid the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him. All the peoples of the earth will lament him. Yes. Amen. "I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, "the one who is and who was and who is to come, the almighty." ~ Revelation 1:5-8

Our new bishop, Bishop Joe Vasquez, spoke to us on the following special readings for the Chrism Mass.
"The spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me; He has sent me to bring glad tidings to the lowly, to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives and release to the prisoners, To announce a year of favor from the LORD and a day of vindication by our God, to comfort all who mourn; To place on those who mourn in Zion a diadem instead of ashes, To give them oil of gladness in place of mourning, a glorious mantle instead of a listless spirit. . . . You yourselves shall be named priests of the LORD, ministers of our God you shall be called. . . . I will give them their recompense faithfully, a lasting covenant I will make with them. Their descendants shall be renowned among the nations, and their offspring among the peoples; All who see them shall acknowledge them as a race the LORD has blessed." Isaiah 61:1-3a, 6a, 8b-9
Luke, the Evangelist, tells us that Jesus read this passage in the synagogue in reference to His ministry.
He came to Nazareth, where he had grown up, and went according to his custom into the synagogue on the sabbath day. He stood up to read and was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah. He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord." Rolling up the scroll, he handed it back to the attendant and sat down, and the eyes of all in the synagogue looked intently at him. He said to them, "Today this scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing."  Luke 4:16-21 
Bishop Joe thanked the laity for their hospitality as he has begun visiting parishes around the diocese. "Diverse cultures are united in one faith and one Lord. . . . Through Baptism we are given a share in the priesthood of Christ," he said. The majority of his homily affirmed the priests in their ministry. "Some are called to the ministerial priesthood. . . . We are grateful for the ministry of the priests in this diocese. A joyful priest is the best advertisement for vocations. . . . Christ works in and through us to minister to the Church. . . . to send good tidings to the lowly, to proclaim liberty to the captives, to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord. It is not an easy task, but it is not a burden. There is joy when we know Christ acts in and through priests - in 'persona Christi'. . . . There is a special bond between the priest and Christ. . . . Priests devote their lives to carrying out Christ's ministry through their friendship with Christ."

The following prayers were adapted from today's prayers of the faithful:

Lord, bless Your priests with the fullness of Your Love. 
Make them faithful ministers of Christ the High Priest
so that they will be able to lead us to You,
the fountain of our salvation.

Lord, bless also Bishop Joe, that despite his unworthiness,
he may faithfully fulfill the office of apostle
which You entrusted to him.
May he become more like Jesus Christ,
our High Priest and Good Shepherd,
the teacher and servant of all,
and so be a genuine sign
of Christ's loving presence among us.

          May the Lord, in His love,
keep us close to Him always,
and may He bring all of us,
his priests and people, to eternal life. Amen

As Holy Week proceeds, let us especially pray for faithful priests, for they have been made to suffer by those who have shepherded themselves on their flock. Lord, give us holy shepherds patterned after the heart of the Good Shepherd!
"I will gather the remnant of my flock, . . . and I will bring them back to their fold, and they shall be fruitful and multiply. I will set shepherds over them who will care for them, and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall any be missing", says the LORD. ~ Jeremiah 23:3-4

It is interesting what follows in Jeremiah 24. It seems to be another form of Ezekiel 36:26-28.

I will give them a heart to know that I am the LORD; and they shall be my people and I will be their God, for they shall return to me with their whole heart. ~ Jeremiah 24:7
It is through good priests (24/7) that God will accomplish this. Let us also remember our Holy Father, Benedict VI. May God enlighten him with the Truth of His Spirit and for his intentions.

March Intentions:
That the world economy may be managed according to the principles of justice and equity, taking account of the real needs of peoples, especially the poorest.
That the Churches in Africa may be signs and instruments of reconciliation and justice in every part of that continent.

April Intentions:
That every tendency to fundamentalism and extremism may be countered by constant respect, by tolerance and by dialogue among all believers.
That Christians persecuted for the sake of the Gospel may persevere, sustained by the Holy Spirit, in faithfully witnessing to the love of God for the entire human race.

1 comment:

  1. CONGRATULATIONS, Theresa, and May God bless your Blog for God........This is wonnderful. I think your blog while being unique is well written and thought out. You include a little of everything: scripture, and some thoughts/reflections on it, prayers, real world stuff, and of course the pictures etc. THANKYOU very much for all your time and prayer invested in this blog.