People of Peace who Follow What is Right


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(01 Apr 10 - RV) On Holy Thursday, the last act of Lent is the celebration of Chrism Mass in diocese throughout the world.

Here at the Vatican some 1600 diocesan priests, religious, bishops and cardinals renewed their priestly vows during the morning Liturgy in a St. Peter's basilica brim-full with religious sisters and faithful.

This is the mass at which the Bishop of Rome, like those in other dioceses around the world, blesses the oils which will be used in the sacraments of baptism, confirmation, holy orders and the anointment of the sick over the coming year. Much of the liturgy was celebrated in Latin but for his homily, the Pope spoke in Italian.

At the Chrism mass each Holy Thursday, priests are asked to renew their commitment to Christ - and in his homily, Pope Benedict reflected on the consecrated oil as a sign of God's mercy:

"So the meaning of priestly anointing always includes the mission to bring God's mercy to those we serve"
Pope Benedict recalled that priestly anointing brings with it the mission to bring God's mercy to the people the clergy serve.

In reflecting on the olive branch as a symbol of peace, the Pope pointed to Christ as the embodiment of peace.
Christians should be people of peace
"Christians should therefore be people of peace" the Pope said. "Christ does not conquer through the sword, but through the Cross. He wins by conquering hatred ... through the force of his greater love." His is a !"no" to violence - and as priests, the holy father continued, "we are called to oppose violence and to trust in the greater power of love."

Oil is not only used to anoint priests and martyrs - it has long been used for kings and even soldiers ready for battle. And here, the Pope reminded us that as Christians we are called to obey the laws of our nation but we are called sometimes to fight for a truer justice - that of God.

It is important for Christians to follow what is right
"It is important for Christians to follow what is right," the Pope said: "the foundation of peace." Today it is important for Christians not to accept a wrong that is enshrined in law - for example the killing of innocent unborn children"

The Holy Spirit, the Pope said "is the oil of gladness - but a gladness of a different sort from the every day entertainment we so often enjoy. That kind of gladness is only a small part of our lives. The gladness that comes to us from Christ can coexist with suffering - it enables us to share in the suffering of others and help each other".

In the fruit of the olive tree, in the consecrated oil, the Pope prayed that "the Lord's gladness pervade us ever more deeply so that we can transmit this joy to a world in such urgent need of it".