|Chrism Mass - Vicariate of Ingwavuma - South Africa|
Thanks to the fact that Vicariate of Ingwavuma has always celebrated the Chrism Mass on a Tuesday morning, while the Diocese of Manzini does it on a Wednesday morning, I have been able - for the last three years - to preside both celebrations during the Holy Week.
During the homily I shared with the priests and the people (both celebrations were very well attended with a full Cathedral) that since I became bishop six years' ago, I have always preached on the Gospel (Luke 4:16 - 21).
These days I was reflecting on Isaiah's words read by Jesus in Nazareth and the contrast with what he would later say about the Pharisees and Sadducees (Matthew 23). It is a contrast that helps us reflect and choose the type of shepherds we have been called to be.
I then asked the priests not to read Isaiah's words in just a spiritual way. This year the Vatican Council document "Gaudium et Spes" will celebrate its first 50 years (07 December 1965). The particularly treasure its first few lines:
“The joys and the hopes, the griefs and the anxieties of the people of this age, especially those who are poor or in any way afflicted, these are the joys and hopes, the griefs and anxieties of the followers of Christ”
If this applies to all the followers of Christ, much more to us called to lead the people of God in this journey.
In fact the Social Doctrine of the Church adds:
“As minister of salvation, the Church is not in the abstract nor in a merely spiritual dimension, but in the context of the history and of the world in which man lives. Here mankind is met by God's love and by the vocation to cooperate in the divine plan.”
I witness an example of this last February. On the feast of the community of St Egidio I was invited to concelebrate Mass at the basilica of St John Lateran in Rome. Seated on the first bench, next to each other, were two ambassadors: the one of the USA and the one of Cuba. It was through the mediation of the Catholic Church that these two countries are rebuilding their relationship fulfilling the hopes of so many people and putting an end to the grief of so many families affected by it.
All over the world, our Church is always the meeting place where different people / groups are able to come together and listen to each other in order to discern God's will which will be, as Isaiah prophesied, good news to the poor, liberty to captives, new sight to the blind.
|Chrism Mass - Diocese of Manzini - Swaziland|