Earlier today we had the Chrism Mass in the Cathedral, Ballaghaderreen. Bishop Kelly, the priests of the diocese and many parishioners from all over the diocese gathered for the celebration of this important moment in a church’s year – when the Oils of the Sick and Catechumens are blessed and the Oil of Chrism consecrated. It is also a day when the priests of the diocese renew their commitment to ministry and vocation. I was asked to lead a reflection after Holy Communion and was pleased to have the chance to do so. The words below are the words I used today.
Lord, from the earliest days of your public ministry, you involved yourself in the needs of all you met.
You were with your people from the turning of poured water into wine to the pouring of your own blood mixed with Cana’s water on the cross. Some people were spoken for “they have no wine” and others found their own voice; “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom”. For some the request for healing was instant and others, like the prodigal son, had to be given time to “come to their senses”. Always though, you were there for people and with people.
Likewise, you remain with us; standing together as Diocese today. We praise your presence in our midst. As people and priests, young and old, strong and infirm, healthy and weak, enthusiastic and tired, faith-filled and searching, we take the message of this day to our hearts. Oils blessed and consecrated. Lives consecrated and renewed – people, united in prayer – we take it all in Lord and offer what we have to you, that you may take it, shape it, renew and rebuild it, so that our diocese and its people live the Gospel message.
The priest in us says “yes” again to your call. Yes to its uncertainties and tensions and yes to its glorious opportunities to be something of your presence to those who seek a voice and have a voice. Yes to its call to bring these oils from their silver containers to the parishes and people of our diocese with the enduring promise of hope and companionship in the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Orders and of life Eternal in the Sacrament of the Sick. To the brokenness of bread and the bitter-sweetness of chalice blood we commit ourselves as well. We offer our voices and our hearing, our good days and our bad that they may be rooted in Holy Thursday, remain loyal through Good Friday and proclaim the good news that “he is risen” on Easter Sunday and beyond.
As Church; lay, religious and ordained, we dedicate our “yes” to you this day: the “yes” of parents towards the shaping and loving of a new generation, the “yes” of a whispered rosary, a lighted candle in an early morning chapel; the “yes” of tending to the sick and infirm; the “yes” of Amen to Eucharist. We dedicate as well the “yes” of the many reluctant but necessary yeses that see Simons and Veronicas step forward from the crowd. We have the “yes” in us, Lord and we offer it to you for it is only in you and through you its potential can be reached.
Remain with us Lord. You know that we know that we need you.