Bishop MacDaid: Mass of the Chrism Holy Thursday 2013

Posted on 16. Apr, 2013

Mass of the Chrism

Holy Thursday,

28 March 2013

St. Macartan’s Cathedral, 11.00am

Introduction

 

A chairde uile, cuirim fáilte romhaibh go leír ar an Aifreann seo.

I welcome to the Cathedral this morning children from many parishes of the diocese who will receive the sacrament of Confirmation this year.  I welcome their teachers who have helped their faith to mature.  I welcome all those in the caring and healing professions who have come to ask God’s blessing on their life-giving work.  I welcome parishioners from Monaghan, and other parts of the diocese, as well as visitors who have joined us.  I welcome the priests of our diocese.  Today has a special significance for them because, in renewing their commitment to serving their people, they do so in communion with one another, recognising and offering to each other brotherly support, which is also extended to other visiting priests who have joined us this morning.  During this ceremony, members of the faithful, you are asked to make allowances for the frailty of your priests, and to support them by your prayers, asking God to strengthen their faith and to open wider their arms in bringing God’s healing and salvation to their people.

 

To prepare ourselves to do this more worthily, let us ask God to pardon our sins.

 

+Liam S. MacDaid

28 March 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mass of the Chrism

Holy Thursday,

28 March 2013

St. Macartan’s Cathedral, 11.00am

Homily

 

Fellow Priests, Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

 

Today’s reading from the Book of the Apocalypse tells us that Jesus loves us and has washed away our sins with his blood; he has made us priests to serve our God and Father.  The prophet Isaiah had already declared that the spirit of the Lord had been given to him.  The Lord had anointed him and sent him to bring good news to the poor and to bind up hearts that are broken.  He was to comfort those who mourn and give them the oil of gladness and praise.  The Lord has blessed us all.

 

A young girl of our own time and people tells us that she had a constant sense of impending doom that used to grip her stomach and made her retch.  She cried passionate morbid tears on a daily basis.  She could not concentrate on the simplest of tasks and had such disdain for herself that she could not look at her face in the mirror.  She was simply broken.  She describes how tears mingled with the shower water and she hated her pathetic self as she mustered the strength to rinse the shampoo from her hair.  She was unable to see the positive in anything.  Looking out the windows of the house that she says she exists in, all she observes are grey walls, rubbish and the rain falling.  She avoided human contact and lay on an uncomfortable couch all day, crying, praying and making all sorts of deals with God.  She watched the clock until she could retire to bed, take a precious sleeping tablet and eventually drift off, dreading the arrival of the next day.  She felt she had reverted back to being a highly emotional teenager with low self-esteem and was afraid of regressing to an infantile state, unable to talk and needing to be washed and fed.  Her world was a dark world.

 

During this morning’s Mass the priests ministering to the people of the diocese renew their commitment to serving them.  They are joined in this Mass by many from the healing professions who care for the sick and by religious who have dedicated their lives to God and neighbour as well as many members of the faithful who try to support and enrich the quality of life of those who are dear to them.  The priests confirm their resolve to be faithful stewards of the mysteries of God, seeking to lead their people to God, who is the source of salvation.  In blessing the oil of the sick, the Bishop prays that it will be a safeguard for body, mind and spirit to take away every pain, every infirmity and every sickness.
In blessing the oil of catechumens, used at Baptism, the Bishop prays that all who are anointed with it may receive divine wisdom and strength, may understand more deeply the Gospel of Christ and find joy in being born again and living in the Church.  In consecrating the chrism, the Bishop prays that it may become for us a sign of God’s blessing and salvation.  He prays for an abundance of the gifts of the Holy Spirit for our brothers and sisters, so that we may all grow in God’s grace until we are ready to receive his invitation to be with him forever.

 

In the preface of today’s Mass, we all give thanks to God for the Priesthood of Christ, which was a channel of God’s love, and was to continue to be so in the priesthood of the faithful and in the ministry of those on whom hands had been laid.  They were to lead their people in charity, nourish them with the word and strengthen them with the Sacraments.  In giving up their lives for the salvation of their brothers and sisters, they were to strive to become more and more like Christ himself so that they could return to God a constant witness of faith and love.  This is a lofty aspiration for frail and weak human beings, and this is why the faithful are asked several times in today’s liturgy to pray for their priests that God’s grace may strengthen them in weakness and enrich their ministry.

 

The young girl says the dark days are behind her.  The black dog has no longer his brutal teeth gripped to her mind.  He isn’t viciously ripping apart her confidence and personality, feeding off her insecurities.  She knows the whiff of weakness could arouse him from his rest so she has to stay strong both mentally and physically to prevent him from attacking again.   Her head is getting clearer and her senses are functioning again.  She can engage with people again, instead of staring at them blankly and nodding her head hoping they wouldn’t notice she was screaming on the inside.  She can now pass a church without going in to light candles for people on her mind at that time.  The nature of depression is that you isolate yourself and keep all these thoughts to yourself for fear of being ridiculed.  Because all this pain is happening inside your head, it’s not easily recognisable and so it can go undetected for a long time.

 

Self-loathing goes hand in hand with depression.  She says she hated herself because of the toxic self-centred person depression had turned her into.  She calls it a selfish disease, making her so desperate for her own happiness at any cost that she hurt people she loved.  Now she has a newfound appreciation for life and the simple things that bring immense pleasure.  She chooses life, reading a good book, chatting with friends, listening to music and watching kids feed ducks.

 

The theologian Hans Kung once said “God’s kingdom is creation healed.”   An inscription in a French hospital reads, “We supplied the remedies, the Lord did the healing.”  If we open and read the Scriptures, it is abundantly clear that God is both willing and eager to heal.  This runs like a golden thread from the Book of Genesis to the Book of the Apocalypse.  No one decides he is going to be a healer, goes to the healing institute to train, qualifies and applies to the local church for a job.  The giving and empowering is by the Holy Spirit.  It’s the choice of the Holy Spirit not of men.  It has very little, if any, reference to the natural abilities and talents of the people who exercise these services.  It is God’s gift, God’s salvation.

 

In today’s Gospel reading, the words of Isaiah are echoed.  Jesus read to the people the declaration of Isaiah that the spirit of the Lord had been given to him.  He had anointed him and sent him to bring good news to the poor, to proclaim liberty to captives, to the blind new sight and set the downtrodden free.  This is his mission, this is what he came to accomplish.  God gave life and saw that it was good.  Man imprisoned himself and his world in selfish clamps.  The Lord came to save him from utter destruction, to free him from his folly and his greed.  The earth still supplies the oil.  This morning we ask God’s blessing on it, and pray that our ministry may continue to be a channel of God’s grace, bringing life to the full to God’s people through the gifts of God’s spirit.

 

+Liam S. MacDaid

28 March 2013 

                   

    new_heart_new_spirit

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