Homily For Holy Thursday (Chrism Mass), Year A

Re-dedication To Christ’s Mission
Readings: 1st: Ish 61: 1-9; Ps 88: 21-25; 2nd: Rev 1:5-8; Gos: Luke 4: 16-21)

This brief reflection was written by Rev. Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a Member of the Congregation of the Holy Ghost Fathers and Brothers (Spiritans). He is currently working with the Spiritan International Group of Puerto Rico &  Dominican Republic. He is the Administrator of Parroquia La Resurrección del Senor, Canovanas and the Chancellor of the Diocesis of Fajardo-Humacao, Puerto Rico. For more details and comments contact him on: canice_c_njoku@yahoo.com, cancilleriadfh@gmail.com, canicechukwuemeka@gmail.com. 

On this Holy Thursday, the church commemorates the institution of the Holy Eucharist. The celebration of Holy Thursday also implicitly marks the institution of the ministerial Priesthood. It is a day of rededicating ourselves in humility to Christ’s mission.

St. Gregory of Nazianzus admonishes us: “We must begin by purifying ourselves before purifying others. We must be instructed to be able to instruct. We must become light to illuminate.” Who then is the priest? He is the defender of the truth. He is the anointed one that causes sacrifices to rise to altar on high. He shares in Christ’s priesthood.

Therefore, there is need for the priests to continuously prepare himself through intimacy with Jesus Christ. This entails making daily efforts to live a holy life. It means nourishing and preparing oneself spiritually. It means getting ready to help and wash the feet of our brothers and sisters as Christ humbly did to his disciples.

As priests, we must develop the virtues of leadership. As Christ is the head of his body the Church, so we must possess all that is necessary to exercise spiritual leadership. We need faithfulness, integrity, constancy, a welcoming, and a decisive firmness in essentials matters. We also need patience, enthusiasm and freedom from our subjective points of view. Above all, we must develop the heart of Christ the good shepherd, by looking for the lost sheep.

The faithful need the word of God to inspire their faith and to equally, lead them to Christ. So, they need priests who are intimately bound to the word of God. They need priests who take their time to prepare their homilies and deliver in the power of the Holy Spirit. They need priests who are holy and available. Priests must be all these to Christ’s flock.

Furthermore, priests must not be tired of praying, because our life and ministry depend on it. In praying the liturgy of the hours, we discover the deep unity between ministry and intimacy with God. Also, in addition to the above, we need what theology refers to as “counsels of ease” or the “evangelical counsel”: obedience, chastity, and poverty. Even when these are not professed as vows, as virtues, they will help us live up to our personal dignity, mission, and be profoundly bound to Christ.

As we celebrate today, let us arise and caste out avarice. That is, the spirit of Judas Iscariot replicated in Simon Magnus (Acts 8, 9-24). It is doing us more harm than Alexander the copper smith did to Paul (2 Tim 4:14-15). Let us define, and purify our motives by remaining focused in this noble vocation. The Lord who has called us is capable of providing all we need (spiritual and temporal) to succeed in his ministry. Those whom he called, he enables and equips. Those whom he called, he also justifies.

Finally, “may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will. May he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever, Amen” (Heb 13: 20-21).

Peace be with you all!!

Maranatha!!

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