Saturday, April 07, 2007

"As Anointed People, We Must Bring Christ To The World"

Its been a busy week. Thus the post on Tuesday's Chrism Mass on Saturday. Enjoy.

This past Tuesday marked the annual "Chrism Mass" celebrated as the day priests renew their vows and the holy oils are blessed and consecrated for use within the diocese. This year's Chrism Mass gathered people from all around the diocese to unite in prayer and remember who we are as the Church of Saginaw: a church of bishop, priests, religious, and laity bound together by our election as the people of God and the mission we have to "Go out to all nations..."

This message of election and mission which permeated the whole day manifested itself as we joined in the anticipation of our brother Andy and Jose's ordination to the priesthood and also in the sending of the oils to every parish in the diocese. It was a message given to those who participated in the Chrism Mass the first time and to those who participated in it for the last time. Bishop Carlson led everyone in a standing ovation for Kevin Bourassa, the diocesan associate for music, who will be leaving soon for a new position in Wisconsin.

Election and mission were the central themes of the Bishop's homily. He began by reflecting on the meaning of the oils in the Christian life by asking all those who were being received into the Church at the Easter Sacraments to stand and be recognized. After the applause had died down he related to the gathered assembly the experience of anointing over 100 people the night before with the oil of the sick and the joy the diocese had in preparing to ordain two men to the priesthood this coming summer.

In focusing on these three aspects of anointing in the life of the church, the Bishop prayed that the Holy Spirit would grace us with a deeper understanding of our faith. "If we are an anointed people," he said, "we need to be a spirit-filled people."

His homily then turned to the mission we have as the elect of God to lift up those who suffer, those who are often trodden under foot: the immigrant, the former prisoner, the homeless. The spirit-filled and strongly emotional homily brought forth acclamation from the assembly as they heard the words of a commission being handed on to them.

It was not a new commission, however, as all recognized in the message the mandate of Christ, to feed the hungry, clothe the naked and visit the lonely. It was a call to embrace that mission once again, some two thousand years after it had first been given, and thus bring the transforming love of Christ to this wounded world.

UPDATE: CNA has a story on Pope Benedict's message for the Chrism Mass: Priests must put on Christ’s yoke of love

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