Bishops around the world celebrate a Mass at which he blesses new oils used in the diocese for baptisms, pre-baptisms, Anointing of the Sick, ordinations, and other consecrations. Priests who attend renew their priestly commitment to be the Shepherds the Lord has called them to be. The laity present asked by the bishop to pray and fraternally support their priests in their holy mission. As bishop of Rome, Pope Francis does what other bishops have done.
His homily today Pope Francis has a clear exhortation to all: living one’s vocation is not business as usual, that you are made for another, that Christ has you to do His work. Mediocre priests and bishops are plentiful and the Pope wants to change this attitude. Thanks be to God. One gets the sense that deacons, priests and bishops who act like church bureaucrats (bishop’s secretaries, curial officials, the pastor-king types, etc.) are not living their God-given vocation with consistency and love. Questions that arrive from pondering the homily: What type of priest does God give to us? What type of priest does the Church expect for the People of God? What type of priest do the People want/need? Can we continue to excuse priests who seem to be negligent of their own need for conversion and the People’s? Wearing the sacred robes of the priest have a particular meaning for the pastoral care of souls. The ordained ministry impacts the priest’s own conversion as well as the people who stand in front of the priest.
Dear Brothers and Sisters, This morning I have the joy of celebrating my first Chrism Mass as the Bishop of Rome. I greet all of you with affection, especially you, dear priests, who, like myself, today recall the day of your ordination.
The readings of our Mass speak of God’s “anointed ones”: the suffering Servant of Isaiah, King David and Jesus our Lord. All three have this in common: the anointing that they receive is meant in turn to anoint God’s faithful people, whose servants they are; they are anointed for the poor, for prisoners, for the oppressed… A fine image of this “being for” others can be found in the Psalm: “It is like the precious oil upon the head, running down upon the beard, on the beard of Aaron, running down upon the collar of his robe” (Ps 133:2). The image of spreading oil, flowing down from the beard of Aaron upon the collar of his sacred robe, is an image of the priestly anointing which, through Christ, the Anointed One, reaches the ends of the earth, represented by the robe.