Once no people, now God’s people- Chrism Mass 2019

Homily by Bishop Joseph Hii on 16 April 2019

Once no people, now God’s people
“For we are a chosen race
A royal priesthood, holy nation
Once no people, now God’s people
Proclaming His marvelous light”

“Indeed we were once no people, now God’s people”.

We were once No people, We are now, People of God, Set Free. Tonight we come together to celebrate our Freedom. A theme that is so appropriate for the Diocese of Sibu as it embarked in its third Year in line with its Decade of Creation Justice 2017-2026 with this theme for the year 2019 “Freedom”.

Freedom, third Gospel’s value, following its theme for 2017 “Creation Justice – Evangelization in Union with Creation” and for 2018 “Joy of Love – Let’s begin from Home” and in this year – Freedom.

We celebrate our freedom as children of God, the children of light. We have been set free. Jesus had set us free. Whoever sins are slave of sins. Jesus came to set us free, he has come to take away our sins, forgiven our sins. If Jesus has taken away our sins through his passion, death on the cross and resurrection from the death, we are no more slaves of sins. We have been set free to be true children of God.

As Jesus proclaimed “the Spirit of the Lord has come upon me” and upon the whole world, the people of God. The good news that we’ve been set free cannot be kept within oneself, within the four walls of the church, but it has to be proclaimed. The word of God today tell us, to bring good news to the poor, to bind up hearts that are broken, proclaimed liberty to the captives and freedom to those in prisons.

That’s why our Holy Father, Pope Francis has called for an Extraordinary Missionary Month in October this year. The Pope wants to remind all of us that through our baptism, the Holy Spirit has come upon us after we have been anointed by the Chrism oil. The Holy Spirit has set us free so that we are able to proclaim. We’ve been baptized and sent, working together with the Holy Spirit, to proclaim the Gospel to the whole world, to helps others to be set free from their sins and announce to those who do not know that “Jesus has forgiven their sins”.  This is the mission of the whole people of God; it cannot be just the mission of the Priests, Bishops, hierarchy of the church, the religious.

Tonight we come together to celebrate the Chrism mass. It is the celebration of our salvation and to celebrate our mission that we are baptized & sent out. We celebrate the first part, usually celebrated in the Morning of Maundy Thursday’s last super mass. We come together to pray for priesthood. Without the ministerial priesthood, we would not be able to continue on with what Jesus has done for us.

Jesus humbled himself, to become human, the word become flesh and dwell among on us. He truly comes and lives out what he preached, to be humble, to be human, he obeyed until death and died on the Cross, for you and me. This good news is to be celebrated for the people of God; we are called to celebrate this mystery of God.

Jesus wants to feed us all, he wants to be food for all of us. That’s why when he was born, Mary had to put Jesus at the crib, like a plate, to be food for animal. Jesus gives us His own body and blood for us to eat and drink on the last supper. We need priest to continue this mystery, this work, so that God can continue to give us food, the word of God and the body of Christ.

We are invited to come to the table of the Word, the table of the Eucharist. Not only that, God continued to give us the table of life, to nourish us in our daily life, so we too can imitate him, to give life to others.

Tonight, I would like to invite our priests to renew their commitment that they can be like Jesus who gave up his life, who humbly, obediently accepted what God has entrusted him and send Jesus into the world.

Priests continue to give food to the whole church and the whole world. To give food – the word of God, the Eucharist, the body & blood of Christ, and life itself so that everyday God continues to nourish us.

Pray for me, as a shepherd. Let’s join together to thank God for the gift of this people of God, the salvation, that made us all one body, as a body of Christ.