The institution of the sacrament of Holy Orders is commemorated every Holy Thursday.
That’s why around this time the pope and bishops usually celebrate Chrism Mass with priests from their respective dioceses. It is an opportunity for priests to renew their vows.
At the Holy Thursday Mass, the pope prefaced the renewal of vows with a profound homily in which he warned priests of the poison of shying away from what they find challenging,
The preaching of the Gospel is always linked to the embrace of a concrete Cross. The gentle light of God’s word grants clarity in well-disposed hearts, and confusion and rejection in those that are not.
Pope Francis reminded them that even Jesus was misunderstood by some people when he tried to do the good. It was part of the cross he carried throughout his life.
We are not scandalized because Jesus was not scandalized by having to heal the sick and to set prisoners free amid the moralistic, legalistic and clerical squabbles and controversies that arose every time He did some good.
After the homily, the priests renewed their vows. It wasn’t just remembering them, but making their commitment new,
Dear sons, on the annual commemoration of the day Christ our Lord communicated his priesthood to the Apostles and us, would you like to renew the promises you made one day before your bishop and the holy people of God?
Then the pope and priests blessed three large vessels with the chrism oil.
The first contained the oil used for the anointing of the sick.
The second, the oil to be used for every baptism in Rome this year.
And the third, the oil used to ordain new priests and bishops, according to Biblical tradition.
The pope concelebrated with Card. Angelo De Donatis, who is his vicar for the diocese of Rome; and with Franciscan Mauro Gambetti, who is the new cardinal archpriest of St. Peter’s Basilica.
Pope Francis was unable to celebrate this Mass last year because of the pandemic, which is why he made sure it was not omitted this year. He was accompanied by about 75 priests representing all the priests in Rome and around the world.