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Sacred Mass of Chrism:

'The feast of our sacramental family'

By The Most Rev. Ronald M. Gilmore
Diocese of Dodge City

Editor's Note: Following is Bishop Ronald M. Gilmore's homily on the occasion of the Mass of Chrism, March 25, 2010, which was held at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Gudadalupe in Dodge City.

A Chrism Mass is almost a language unto itself, almost an unspoken creed unto itself. Our way of praying is our way of believing. Think on that for a moment.

We believe in the Creator, the maker of all material things, and the maker of the communion to which we are called. We express that in this Chrism Mass. And that just about says it all.

We are so made that we are permanently tied to material things. That’s why we cling to the hope of a bodily resurrection. We are so made that we are permanently hungry for communion with one another and with God. That’s why we cannot be happy apart from the communion we seek in heaven. Knowing how we are made, God attached his grace to material objects and visible actions. Our sacraments contain the grace they symbolize and they confer that grace on all those who place no obstacle in the way.

We believe in a Redeemer, Jesus Christ, the Son of God. He is the expression of the Father, his Word. He is the Icon of the Father. He is the Sacrament of the Father, an outward sign, a bodily expression through which eternal life comes to us. He came to save us from the ravages of the Fall, to restore us to Divine Life. For the Catholic, a spiritual life is a life lived with him, inside his memory.

We believe in the Holy, Catholic Church. She is also an expression of Jesus Christ, a visible continuation of his presence, a sacrament of Jesus Christ, if you will. A spiritual life is a life lived with him, inside his mystery, and inside the mystery of the Church, the sign of the unity to which all women and men are called.

We believe in the Sacrament of the Holy Orders: the ordained priest is a sacrament of Christ, the Head of the Church. We believe in the Sacrament of Marriage: the married couple is a sacrament of the Trinity in the home and the family they make. We believe in the Sacrament of Baptism: for which we are purified by the oil of catechumens, and in which we are anointed by the Holy Spirit through the Oil of Chrism. We believe in the Sacrament of Anointing the Sick, with its soothing, strengthening, healing oil for our long pilgrimage of faith.

Sacraments from beginning to end. Sacraments everywhere. As the French writer, Bernanos, once said of grace: all is sacramental. Our providential God uses the world, and all that is in it, as a Sacrament of his Presence, another French writer, De Caussade, said centuries earlier.

The Chrism Mass is thus a feast, the feast perhaps, of our sacramental family. Bishop, priests, deacons, sisters, people, we come together on our sacramental way, in our spiritual life so tied to material, bodily things, so bent on seeking the only communion that finally satisfies. Sights, and sounds, and gestures, and symbols abound here today. Fue sanada al tocar el manto de Jesus a traves del poder que habia salido de el. Poder … habia salido de el.

See now, and hear, and smell, and touch, and taste now the Goodness of the Lord.

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