Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Chrism Mass

This is not a preaching so much as a brief account of what our Archbishop said at today's Chrism Mass, or at least what I heard him say!

What is a Chrism Mass?
Each year in Holy Week the Bishop meets with his clergy
and together they reaffirm their vows of ordination.
He also blesses the Oil of Unction for anointing Sick people
and the Oil of Chrism which is used for anointing the newly baptised.

We have just met for this important litugy, and our Bishop took as his theme for the homily
"Home is not a safe place!"
He talked of Nazareth & Jerusalem, both places which were for Jesus "home" and were ultimately unsafe places. Nazareth because although he grew up there, they rejected his teaching and threatened to stone him. Jerusalem, the mother of all cities, ultimately took away his life.
He reminded us how he has found out, first-hand in this his first six months of ministry with us, that for many the church that should be home has not been a safe place.
His plea to us at this time of reaffirmation: to make the Church a safe place.
He then moved us on, in the spirit of the Luke-Acts story to other places which also represented challenge.
Samaria just outside the bounds of the people of Judah which represented the unsafe places we are called to go...where dwell people in cardboard boxes, the socially unacceptable, the ostracised.
Antioch, the third largest city in the known world. Where surprising new opportunity offered itself to Barnabas and Paul.
Rome, where Paul was taken, and which amidst the deep corruption of political power and the seduction of worldly fame and fortune presents opportunity and challenge .
He asked us to commit ourselves to ministry in Samaria, in Antioch and in Rome.

Straightforward and stretching stuff, I find, which is quite helpful

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