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VATICAN CITY — On Holy Thursday morning Pope Francis celebrated the Chrism Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica, together with the cardinals, bishops and priests (diocesan and religious) present in Rome.
In his homily, the pope spoke to the clergy about two areas in which the Lord shows excess in mercy: encounter and forgiveness.
“It is proper to the Heart of God to overflow with tenderness, with ever more to give,” the pope said. “As priests 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.”
Yet a priest, too, he said, can become blind “because of an excess of complicated theology”; thirsty from indulging in too much “bubbly,” spirituality “light”; imprisoned by “a digital, virtual worldliness that is opened and closed by a simple click”; and oppressed by “the allure of a thousand commercial advertisements” that hold him back from freely going out in love to his brothers and sisters in need.
But the pope reassured priests that “Jesus comes to redeem us, to send us out, to transform us from being poor and blind, imprisoned and oppressed, to become ministers of mercy and consolation.” And he therefore called them to open themselves, especially in this Jubilee Year, “to the mercy revealed in the wounded flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Following the pope’s homily, priests renewed the promises they made at their ordination.
The Holy Father then blessed the Oil of Catechumens and the Oil of the Sick and perfected the Chrism by mixing blessed oil of olives with blessed balsam.
During the blessing of the Chrism, he breathed on the balsam three times in the form of a cross.
These oils will be used during the Easter Vigil and in liturgical celebrations throughout the year.
Here below we publish the official English translation of the pope’s homily.