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Chrism Mass Commentary

Thursday, 4/1/2021, Holy Thursday

The Anniversary of the Priesthood

First Reading Commentary: Isaiah 61:1-3a, 6a, 8b-9

In today’s first reading, Isaiah talks about the mission to the afflicted and the reward to Israel, but Isaiah is also making a prophecy of the priesthood. It is on this day that Christ conferred the priesthood on the Apostles at the Last Supper and today’s priests and bishops are their successors.

Because this is the anniversary of the priesthood, all priest and bishops go to their mother church, which is the cathedral of their diocese or archdiocese, to renew their vows as priests. Today’s priests are called to fulfill the directives contained within the prophecy of Isaiah. These directives were also given by Christ to the Apostles many times and in many ways.

Priests are called to bring glad tidings by proclaiming the Gospel. Through the Sacrament of Confession, they are called to proclaim liberty to those who are captives and prisoners to sin. Priests are called to proclaim the promise of the Kingdom of Heaven and to anoint the people with oils of gladness. These are the oils which are used in the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, the Sacrament of the Sick (Last Rights) and Holy Orders.

There is a saying, “Once a priest; always a priest.” That is because of the covenant which is made between them and God through the vows which they take when they receive the Sacrament of Holy Orders. Our priests are human and make mistakes just like the rest of us. The Apostles were no different but, like the Apostles, our priests are committed to spreading God’s Word and doing God’s Will. So, as we celebrate the anniversary of the priesthood, we also say, “Thank you” to our priests because being a priest during these challenging times is no easy job.

Jesus Christ Is Lord and King

Second Reading Commentary: Revelation 1:5-8 &
Gospel Commentary Luke 4:16-21

According, to what was His custom, Christ went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day. While there, He opened up the scroll and read the Scripture: 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. After reading from the scroll, Christ sat down and said, “Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.”

Try to clear your mind of everything we know today and imagine being there in that synagogue almost two thousand years ago listening to Jesus read this Scripture proclaiming that He is the anointed one. What would you think? Would you think that He was crazy? Would you think that He had some nerve to put Himself on such a pedestal? Or would you believe in Him? These are the things that went through the minds of the people who were there and most of them did not believe.

Christ did recover the sight to the blind as well as other great works of healing. He even drove demons out of people. Indeed, Christ did everything which the Scripture said He would do.

As we get closer to the day that Christ gave His life for us on the cross, these readings give us a wonderful opportunity to stop and think of the great things that Christ did in His public ministry on earth during the last three years of His life. We are given an opportunity to meditate on the miracles that Christ performed and the teachings that He gave especially when He taught us how to pray by giving us The Lord’s Prayer. And let us not forget The Sermon on the Mount where Christ delivered the Proclamation of the Kingdom of Heaven giving us the Beatitudes.

This is a time for us to stop and think about how Christ called His disciples and made them the first priests and bishops of His Church. This is a time to stop and think of Peter who, despite his brokenness, would become the rock on which the Church would be built. This is a time for us to stop and think of the history of the Church in particular, the origin and the roots of the Church.

This is a time for us to remember that Christ was born a Jew, lived His life as a Jew, prayed as a Jew and was a descendant of the Israelites in the bloodline of Abraham and David. All of this was just as the Father had promised Abraham.

This is a time for Catholics everywhere to stop for a moment to remember that their Church has Its roots in Judaism and comes from Jesus Christ Himself, totally and completely, and no other religion or denomination of Christianity can make such a claim and back it up. Yes, the church has its problems but every one of them is a result of human error. God does not make mistakes, Christ does not make mistakes, but we do. It is not God’s fault that there are problems within our Church. It is our fault. Some people who know me have heard me say this before, "Don't let human error stand in the way of your faith."

This is a time for Catholics around the world to remember that the Church is the people so they should make themselves a part of the solution and fix the problems within the Church. To do this, Catholics must bring themselves ever closer to their Church instead of running away. Remember what we learned a few days ago, you can’t be shamed when God is on your side, therefore, Catholics should ignore the persecution which the Church receives and Catholics should live their lives according to the Church’s teaching.

Strength can be found in the Beatitude: “Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you (falsely) because of me.” Matthew 5:11

Today’s second reading from the book of Revelation, gives praise and honor to Jesus Christ who is ruler of the kings of the earth. The Lord, God says, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the one who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” Don’t try to understand what God says here. The human mind can’t make since of such a concept. All we can do is use the gift of faith. Why, because it does make since to realize that everything that is, was and is yet to come, came from something infinitely greater than ourselves and that is the Almighty.

Mass of the Lord’s Supper Commentary

The Passover Is About Love

First Reading Commentary: Exodus 12:1-8, 11-14 &
Second Reading Commentary 1 Corinthians 11:23-26

God gave Moses and Aaron the law of how to partake in the Passover meal. God told them how to prepare the lamb and how to eat it. God also told them to apply some of the blood of the lamb on their doorposts and the lintel of every house. Then God said, “It is the Passover of the LORD. For on this same night, I will go through Egypt, striking down every firstborn of the land…executing judgment of all the gods of Egypt…But the blood will mark the houses where you are. Seeing the blood, I will pass over you…thus no destructive blow will come over you…This day shall be a memorial feast for you, which all your generations shall celebrate…”

The Passover is still celebrated today as God commanded—well, sort of. If the Passover was celebrated today exactly as God commanded Moses, Jews and Christians would all celebrate the Passover in the same way and that way would follow God’s instructions to the letter. But such is not the case.

Nevertheless, the tradition is upheld by, both devout Jews and devout Christians. The tradition is also upheld by those who wish to remember the Passover of the LORD which spared the Jews from the destruction which the LORD brought upon the Egyptians who did not believe in the Lord and persecuted the Jews. The Passover is also celebrated to remember the exodus of the Jews from their slavery in Egypt and their Passover into the Promised Land of Jerusalem.

For Christians and Catholics, celebrating the Passover is also to remember the Passover of Christ who made Himself the sacrificial lamb when He gave His life on the Cross for the destruction of sin. The Passover is a time to remember that we are rescued from the bondage of sin and that as believers, we ourselves will Passover into the Kingdom of Heaven. And we celebrate the Passover to remember that when Christ Passed over, He defeated death with His Glorious Resurrection.

The celebration of the Mass is a reliving of the Last Supper which was a Passover meal. Therefore, we celebrate the Passover at every Mass but in a special way on this night because it is the anniversary of the first “Supper of the Lord”, His Last Supper.

No Service—No Heaven

Gospel Commentary: John 13:1-15

At the Last Supper, Jesus said to the disciples, “love one another as I have loved you.” John 13:34 Jesus demonstrates this love by washing the feet of the disciples. Peter, who did not want to have his feet washed and had a way of speaking without thinking first, said to Jesus, “You will never wash my feet.” Jesus told Peter, “Unless I wash you, you will have no inheritance with me.” Then Peter wanted to have his hands, head and feet washed.  

Let’s stop and think about this. Peter was too proud to have his feet washed until Jesus told him what he would loose. What would you do if Jesus was in front of you and offered to wash your feet? If Jesus, the Son in the Trinity, God Himself, can demonstrate such extreme humility then we should be able to serve each other. Christ spent His life helping others, died for the sake of helping all of mankind; does not give up on helping us and on this night, He demonstrates, in a physical way, that there is nothing that He will not do for us.

None of us like to take direction from someone who does not practice what they preach. We would much rather take direction from someone who is willing to do the things which they ask us to do. Christ is asking that we love each other and serve each other because of the love that we have for each other and we should learn from Peter’s action, the lesson of not letting pride get in the way.

Indeed, that is the lesson which Jesus teaches after He has washed the feet of the Apostles when He says, “I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do.” It is not about washing feet. It is about treating people no matter how low their place may be in society, with dignity and respect from the heart. It is about helping those in need and turning your back on no one. It is about obeying the commandment, “Love thy neighbor as thyself.”

Outside of loving God with everything you have, loving your neighbor as yourself is indeed the most important thing for us to do. Why else would Jesus go to such an extreme to teach this lesson at His Last Passover meal? Why else would He give His life for us on the Cross?

The first Passover happened because God the Father loved the Israelites. The Passover of Jesus happened because God the Father loves the world so much that He sent His Son to lead us to the Promised Land of heaven and to even make Himself the Lamb. But we cannot follow the Son unless we obey the commandment that He gave at the Last Supper—to serve each other as He has served us.

Chrism Mass Readings

Reading 1          Isaiah 61:1-3a, 6a, 8b-9

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 shall you 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.

Responsorial Psalm          Psalm 89:21-22, 25, 27

R. (2) For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.

“I have found David, my servant; with my holy oil I have anointed him.
That my hand may always be with him; and that my arm may make him strong.”
R. For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.

“My faithfulness and my mercy shall be with him; and through my name shall his horn be exalted.
He shall say of me, ‘You are my father, my God, the Rock, my savior!’“
R. For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.

Reading 2         Revelations 1:5-8

[Grace to you and peace] from Jesus Christ, who is 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.”

Gospel          Luke 4:16-21

Jesus 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.”

Mass of the Last Supper Readings

Reading 1          Exodus 12:1-8, 11-14

The LORD said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, “This month shall stand at the head of your calendar; you shall reckon it the first month of the year.
Tell the whole community of Israel: On the tenth of this month every one of your families must procure for itself a lamb, one apiece for each household.
If a family is too small for a whole lamb, it shall join the nearest household in procuring one and shall share in the lamb in proportion to the number of persons who partake of it.
The lamb must be a year-old male and without blemish.
You may take it from either the sheep or the goats.
You shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month, and then, with the whole assembly of Israel present, it shall be slaughtered during the evening twilight.
They shall take some of its blood and apply it to the two doorposts and the lintel of every house in which they partake of the lamb.
That same night they shall eat its roasted flesh with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.

“This is how you are to eat it: with your loins girt, sandals on your feet and your staff in hand, you shall eat like those who are in flight.
It is the Passover of the LORD.
For on this same night I will go through Egypt, striking down every firstborn of the land, both man and beast, and executing judgment on all the gods of Egypt—I, the LORD!
But the blood will mark the houses where you are.
Seeing the blood, I will pass over you; thus, when I strike the land of Egypt, no destructive blow will come upon you.

“This day shall be a memorial feast for you, which all your generations shall celebrate with pilgrimage to the LORD, as a perpetual institution.”

Responsorial Psalm          Psalm 116:12-13, 15-16bc, 17-18

R. (cf. 1 Cor 10:16) Our blessing-cup is a communion with the Blood of Christ.

How shall I make a return to the LORD for all the good he has done for me?
The cup of salvation I will take up, and I will call upon the name of the LORD.
R. Our blessing-cup is a communion with the Blood of Christ.

Precious in the eyes of the LORD is the death of his faithful ones.
I am your servant, the son of your handmaid; you have loosed my bonds.
R. Our blessing-cup is a communion with the Blood of Christ.

To you will I offer sacrifice of thanksgiving, and I will call upon the name of the LORD.
My vows to the LORD I will pay in the presence of all his people.
R. Our blessing-cup is a communion with the Blood of Christ.

Reading 2          1 Corinthians 11:23-26

Brothers and sisters: I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus, on the night he was handed over, took bread, and, after he had given thanks, broke it and said, “This is my body that is for you.
Do this in remembrance of me.”
In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood.
Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”
For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes.

Gospel          John 13:1-15

Before the feast of Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to pass from this world to the Father.
He loved his own in the world and he loved them to the end.
The devil had already induced Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot, to hand him over.
So, during supper, fully aware that the Father had put everything into his power and that he had come from God and was returning to God, he rose from supper and took off his outer garments.
He took a towel and tied it around his waist.
Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and dry them with the towel around his waist.
He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Master, are you going to wash my feet?”
Jesus answered and said to him, “What I am doing, you do not understand now, but you will understand later.”
Peter said to him, “You will never wash my feet.”
Jesus answered him, “Unless I wash you, you will have no inheritance with me.”
Simon Peter said to him, “Master, then not only my feet, but my hands and head as well.”
Jesus said to him, “Whoever has bathed has no need except to have his feet washed, for he is clean all over; so you are clean, but not all.”
For he knew who would betray him; for this reason, he said, “Not all of you are clean.”

So when he had washed their feet and put his garments back on and reclined at table again, he said to them, “Do you realize what I have done for you?
You call me ‘teacher’ and ‘master,’ and rightly so, for indeed I am.
If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another’s feet.
I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do.”

Wear the mask!
Wash your hands!
Maintain social distancing!
Pray for our leadership!

Get the vaccine!

The Descent of the Holy Spirit
Catechism of the Catholic Church
Paragraph 767 "When the work which the Father gave the Son to do on earth was accomplished, the Holy Spirit was sent on the day of Pentecost in order that he might continually sanctify the Church."174 Then "the Church was openly displayed to the crowds and the spread of the Gospel among the nations, through preaching, was begun."175 As the "convocation" of all men for salvation, the Church in her very nature is missionary, sent by Christ to all the nations to make disciples of them.176

The Holy Spirit came to Mary and the Apostles as tongues of fire.

The bishop of each diocese blesses the oils at the Chrism Mass. Pope Francis, as bishop of Rome, blesses the oils for Rome.

When Jesus instituted the Eucharist at the Last Supper, He also instituted the Sacrament of Holy Orders making the Twelve the first priests and bishops of the Church.

“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the one who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” Revelation 1:8

Verse Before the Gospel

The Spirit of the LORD is upon me; for he has sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor.

When Jesus read from the Scripture in the Synagogue and said, "Today this scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing," He proclaimed His divinity as the Anointed One.

Tonight we celebrate the Passover in a very special way because it is the anniversary of the Last Supper of the Lord and the Institution of the Eucharist. It is also the anniversary of the Institution of the Priesthood (the Sacrament of Holy Orders) which Christ gave to the Church so that the Eucharist might be shared by everyone throughout the ages.

Verse Before the Gospel John 13:34

I give you a new commandment, says the Lord: love one another as I have loved you.

The Institution of the Eucharist is the Fifth Lumanous Mystery of the Rosary

God does not ask us to do anything that He is not willing to do Himself. God serves us all of the time and God wants us to serve each other. This is why Jesus washed the feet of the Apostles.

Speaking about God and bringing the message of God’s love and salvation in Jesus Christ to men is the duty of all the baptized. And this duty involves, not only speaking with words, but in all one’s actions and way of doing things. Our whole being should speak of God, even in the ordinary things. In this way witness is authentic, and thus shall it always be new and fresh in the power of the Holy Spirit. -from The Spirit of Saint Francis 

A Treasure Trove

In Christ, all of life has meaning now. We have the opportunity to participate in the redemption of the world by offering up our suffering in union with Christ, and there is a treasure trove of meaning for us to uncover! -from When You Suffer

Why Are There two special Masses celebrated on Holy Thursday?

       The Chrism Mass is celebrated in the morning at the cathedral of the diocese. There are two special purposes to this Mass. First, the chrism and all of the holy oils which are to be used throughout the diocese for the year are blessed by the bishop. After the Mass, the oils and chrism are dispersed to the priests who will take them back to their parishes. Any left-over oils and chrism from the previous year are burned at the parish before the Chrism Mass.

          There is the Oil of the Sick and the Oil of the Catechumens. Chrism is; a special perfumed oil used for consecration signifying the gift of the Holy Spirit in the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Orders.

          The second special purpose of the Chrism Mass is for the priests to congragete and renew their priestly promises. Every priest within the diocese should be present, if at all possible, to participate in this Mass with the bishop which is a manifestation of the priests’ communion with their bishop.

          The second Mass, which is celebrated in the evening, is the Mass of the Lord’s Supper. To Catholics, the celebration of Mass is not a reenactment but a re-living of the Last Supper because we are obeying the commandment from Christ: “Do this in memory of Me.” Christ told the apostles to keep this commandment until His return. In so doing, Christ instituted the Eucharist and constituted the Apostles as the first priests of the New Testament.

          Christ said that He came to serve and the washing of the Apostle’s feet was a humble act of love and service. The washing of feet at the Lord’s Supper Mass is symbolic of a priest’s call to service and another act of reliving the events of the Last Supper. A priest answers his call to serve by ministering to the flock and in so doing, he also serves God.

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