Chrism Mass: a call to listen

Chrism Mass at "Our Lady of Assumption" Cathedral (Manzini, Diocese of Manzini, Swaziland)
Once again, this year, I presided two Chrism Masses: one in the Vicariate of Ingwavuma (Tuesday) and one in the Diocese of Manzini (Wednesday). Distances do not allow us to do it on Holy Thursday because it is not just celebrating Mass but having lunch together without any hurry bishop and priests.

Chrism Mass at "Malusi Omuhle" Cathedral (Hlabisa, Vicariate of Ingwavuma, South Africa)
This is part of the homily:

"If I could make a drawing of a priest I would draw him with a big ear. Others would draw him with a big mouth as he is a preacher. I would choose a big ear because I believe that, being called and sent, he constantly needs to listen to the one who calls him. He constantly needs to listen to the Spirit that is upon him, consecrating him and sending him.

We need to listen to God's Word. Before thinking of preaching it to others we need to make sure we welcome the Word in our lives. Palm Sunday's first reading from Isaiah had a beautiful image: "Each morning he wakes me to hear, to listen like a disciple. The Lord has opened my ear."

Think of Holy Thursday's celebrating in the evening. Jesus says: "If I, then, the Lord and Master, have washed your feet, you should wash each other’s feet. I have given you an example so that you may copy what I have done to you.’ We need to be the first ones to ask ourselves: "how do I welcome this Word in my life? How do I show I am ready to follow the Lord's example?".

We listen when there is space for silence. The one who talks all the time... never listens! I believe that during our formation, we were introduced to pray in silence in front of the Blessed Sacrament. Does it continue after our ordination or... just finishes in the seminary? 

We listen when we allow others to help us: the bishop, priests, religious, lay people... During the time of internship a seminarian meets a team of lay people once a month. After ordination it seems to me that people are not free to talk to their priests and help them. They might talk to the bishop about them... Priests sometime struggle to listen to their brother priests.

The Bible is full of people who became a blessing to others because they listened to the Lord who spoke to them in different ways: Abraham, Moses, the prophets... The best example could be Joseph of whom we do not have a single word but clearly shows he listened and welcomed God's Word in his life.

The call to listen is not just for the priests and bishop but also for the whole community. The lay people can really help us or... put us into trouble!"

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Bishop of the Diocese of Manzini (Swaziland)

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