Voices ever ancient, ever new. Holy Week 2014: Thursday, The Chrism Mass

“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.” (Luke 4:20

Origen of Alexandria comments on this verse from the Gospel proclaimed at today’s Chrism Mass:

“When Jesus had read this passage, he rolled up “the scroll, gave it to the servant, and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him.” Now too, if you want it, your eyes can be fixed on the Savior in this synagogue, here in this assembly. When you direct the principal power of seeing in your heart to wisdom and truth and to contemplating God’s Only-Begotten, your eyes gaze on Jesus. Blessed is that congregation of which Scripture testifies that “the eyes of all were fixed on him!” How much would I wish that this assembly gave such testimony. I wish that the eyes of all (of catechumens and faithful, of women, men and children)—not the eyes of the body, but the eyes of the soul—would gaze upon Jesus. When you look to him, your faces will be shining from the light of his gaze. You will be able to say, “The light of your face, Lord, has made its mark upon us.” (Homilies on the Gospel of Luke, 32)

O God,
Who anointed your Only Begotten Son
with the Holy Spirit
and made him Christ and Lord,
graciously grant
that, being made sharers in his consecration,
we may bear witness to your Redemption in the world.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Please remember all priests in your prayers today. During the Chrism Mass, priests will renew the promises each made the day he was ordained a priest of Jesus Christ in the line of Melchizedek. The bishop will ask:

Beloved sons,
on the anniversary of that day
when Christ our Lord conferred his priesthood
on his Apostles and on us,
are you resolved to renew,
in the presence of your Bishop and God’s holy people,
the promises you once made?

Are you resolved to be more united with the Lord Jesus
and more closely conformed to him,
denying yourselves and confirming those promises
about sacred duties towards Christ’s Church
which, prompted by love of him,
you willingly and joyfully pledged
on the day of your priestly ordination?

Are you resolved
to be faithful stewards of the mysteries of God
in the Holy Eucharist and the other liturgical rites
and to discharge faithfully
the sacred office of teaching,
following Christ the Head and Shepherd,
not seeking any gain,
but moved only by zeal for souls?

As for you, dearest sons and daughters,
pray for your Priests,
that the Lord may pour out his gifts
abundantly upon them,
and keep them faithful
as ministers of Christ, the High Priest,
so that they may lead you to him,
who is the source of salvation.

And pray also for me,
that I may be faithful to the apostolic office
entrusted to me in my lowliness
and that in your midst I may be made day by day
a living and more perfect image of Christ,
the Priest, the Good Shepherd,
the Teacher and the Servant of all.

May the Lord keep us all in his charity
and lead all of us,
shepherds and flock,
to eternal life.

It is truly right and just, our duty and our salvation,
always and everywhere to give You thanks,
Lord, holy Father, almighty and eternal God.

For by the anointing of the Holy Spirit
you made your Only Begotten Son
High Priest of the new and eternal covenant,
and by your wondrous design were pleased to decree
that his one Priesthood should continue in the Church.

For Christ not only adorns with a royal priesthood
the people he has made his own,
but with a brother’s kindness he also chooses men
to become sharers in his sacred ministry
through the laying on of hands.

They are to renew in his name
the sacrifice of human redemption,
to set before your children the paschal banquet,
to lead your holy people in charity,
to nourish them with the word
and strengthen them with the Sacraments.

As they give up their lives for you
and for the salvation of their brothers and sisters,
they strive to be conformed to the image of Christ himself
and offer you a constant witness of faith and love.

And so, Lord, with all the Angels and Saints,
we, too, give you thanks, as in exultation we acclaim:

Glory to You Father, Son and Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning is now
and will be forever. Amen!