Thursday, 20 March 2008
Of Oil and Men
Blink! Blink! It is the time of the year when all the Priests gather and watch the Bishop bless 3 jars of oil in the morning and they will go and wash the feet of people in the evening. Sounds simple and mundane doesn't it. NO! There is a lot more than that.
Two thousand years ago, Christ instituted the Eucharist for us and also started the ministerial priesthood! This very day every year, on Holy Thursday, all the Priests will gather and renew their promise to be faithful in their vocation. What a reminder for us Seminarians. This will be what we are aspiring to be in the time to come.
Also, on this day, His Grace ArchBishop Nicholas Chia also consecreted and blessed the Holy Oils. These oils will be used for the sacraments of baptism, confirmation, ordination and the anointing of the sick. These oils will be distributed to all Parishes for use this year.
This evening, the Priests will also follow in the servanthood of Christ when he washed the feet of all his apostles.
Finally, quoting from our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, he said, "In administering the sacraments, he no longer represents himself and no longer expresses himself, but speaks and acts for Christ. For that reason, priests must continually configure themselves to Christ, something that is symbolized in the liturgical vestments they put on.
The amice, which traditionally covered the shoulders and head, reminds priests to concentrate on the celebration of the Mass and on the figure of Christ, and not to let their thoughts wander.
The stole and alb evoke the festive clothing given by the father to the tattered and dirty prodigal son in the Gospel parable. They should remind priests how far they are from Christ and "how much filth exists in our lives".
The chasuble, the main liturgical garment worn over the rest, symbolizes the yoke of Christ and his burden of suffering. All priests should continue to learn "mildness and humility" from him.
The vestments above all should symbolize love toward God and neighbor."
My dear people of God and my dear Brother seminarians, how aptly put and how beautiful the Priesthood!! (And that is how many of us are in formation. Just eight Singaporeans, with Bro Joseph from China)