(Vatican Radio) On the morning of Holy Thursday, Pope Francis celebrated the Mass of Chrism at St Peter’s Basilica.
During the Holy Mass, the Holy Father blessed the sacred oils (Chrism, the oil of catechumens, and the oil of the sick), which will be used during the Easter Vigil, and in liturgical celebrations throughout the year.
The Mass also included a renewal of promises for the priests present, on the ceremonial anniversary of Christ’s institution of the priesthood.
Listen to Christopher Wells’ report:
In his homily, Pope Francis reminded his fellow priests that “we are witnesses to and ministers of the ever-increasing abundance of the Father’s mercy; we have the rewarding and consoling task of incarnating mercy, as Jesus did.”
Focusing once again on the theme of mercy, the Pope spoke especially about two areas where the Lord shows “an excess of mercy”: in encounter, and in forgiveness.
“The first area where we see God showing excess in his ever-increasing mercy is that of encounter. He gives himself completely and in such a way that every encounter leads to rejoicing,” Pope Francis said. The second area, he said, is forgiveness itself. God not only forgives us, but helps to regain our dignity. Our response to God’s superabundant forgiveness, he continued, should always be to preserve that healthy tension between a dignified shame and a shamed dignity.”
The Holy Father concluded his homily with a plea for gratitude: “In this Jubilee Year we celebrate our Father with hearts full of gratitude, and we pray to him that ‘he remember his mercy forever’; let us receive, with a dignity that is able to humble itself, the mercy revealed in the wounded flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ.” He prayed, “Let us ask him to cleanse us of all sin and free us from every evil. And with the grace of the Holy Spirit let us commit ourselves anew to bringing God’s mercy to all men and women, and performing those works which the Spirit inspires in each of us for the common good of the entire People of God.”
The full text of Pope Francis’ homily for the Chrism Mass can be found here.