Despite the continued COVID-19 restriction on church numbers, those in the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle who gathered on the Tuesday evening of Holy Week did so in joyful anticipation of a return to being allowed to sing! And what a return it was, as this beautiful liturgy was enriched, not only by the glorious sounds from the cathedral choir and musicians led by Anne Millard, but also by the voice of the Assembly.
In his homily, Bishop Bill reflected on the loss of easy access to the Sacraments over the last year, reminding us of the healing power of God throughout the ages. He talked of the sacred Oil of the Sick, Oil of Chrism and Oil of Catechumens as being the “sacramental signs that bring the grace and power of Christ into the lives of people, day by day”.
However, the Holy Oils are of little use in themselves. They become an effective sign and instrument of God’s presence when used by the community of faith to anoint people and things at significant moments in our individual and shared life of faith. If the ministries that form their context, and the liturgies in which they are used are to reveal the God of Jesus Christ – the God of loving kindness – the community of faith needs to die to all within it that is not of God, and allow God to raise it/us up to be enlightened by Christ, who came not to judge but to show us how to love unconditionally.
And so true to the story of God’s relationship with humanity, there is always more, and from the Chrism Mass we entered into the Paschal Triduum, the great celebration of God’s loving kindness which is revealed and experienced by us in Jesus’ life, death and resurrection.
The hope the ministry of the Holy Oils embodies, is found in the life death and resurrection of Jesus. The Chrism Mass leads to Easter, and Easter raises up the community – you and me – to live and minister in the light of Christ. The Chrism Mass and the Triduum are inextricably linked in the wondrous journey of Holy Week.
To discover more about the 2021 Chris Mass:
- Listen to Bishop Bill’s Chrism Mass homily https://open.spotify.com/episode/0eFknIRedtarFDw9XNf1Pe?go=1&utm_source=embed_v3&t=0&nd=1
- Listen to Bishop Bill’s Holy Thursday Homily
- Listen to Bishop Bill’s Good Friday Homily
- Listen to Bishop Bill’s Easter Vigil Homily
- View the Easter Ceremonies celebrated at the Sacred Heart Cathedral. Click on the ‘+’ sign beside ‘Easter Live Streams’.
Happy Easter! The celebration continues until Pentecost Sunday.