Vatican City (AsiaNews) - As the martyrs of earlier times, even today, Christians should "not accept an injustice that is elevated in law", as in the case of abortion. In doing so, warned the Pope today, you really serve peace, you follow in the footsteps of Jesus and you can have the "joy" that he spreads.
It 's a joy that is quite different from the "enjoyment" considered to be "everything", it gives "the ability to share the suffering of others and so reveal the light and goodness of God, through sharing" which especially consecrated persons should be able to bring "back into a world that so urgently needs the joy that comes from the truth."
The Chrism Mass, which is celebrated on Maundy Thursday, just before the Easter Triduum begins, centred on priests. It is the ritual that Benedict XVI presided over this morning in St. Peter's and today all the bishops celebrated in cathedrals around the world, with their priests. It takes its name from the blessing of holy oils and chrism (oil that is mixed with perfume), that is the oil for the sick and those for baptism and confirmation, for ordinations and for the consecration of new churches and altars . Oils that in the papal celebration are contained in large silver vessels, brought by some sick, some catechumens who during the Easter vigil will receive baptism and some young candidates for the priesthood.
Illustrating the significance of the celebration, Benedict XVI highlighted how "in our name 'Christian' the mystery of the oil is present. The word "Christian", in fact, derives from the word "Christ", the Greek translation of the word "Messiah" which means "Anointed One". "Being a Christian means: come to Christ, belong to Christ, the anointed of God, the One to whom God has given the kingship and the priesthood. It means to belong to the One that God has anointed - not with a material oil, but with He who is represented by the oil: with his Holy Spirit. Olive oil is thus in a very special way a symbol of the interpenetration of the Man Jesus by the Holy Spirit. "
"In fact, in the various sacraments, consecrated oil is always a sign of God's mercy The anointing for the priesthood means therefore always also the task of bringing God's mercy to men."
This is true since the olive branch carried by the dove after the flood, which announced the new peace of God with the world of men. Thus, the Pope said, "not only the dove, but also the olive branch and the oil itself have become symbols of peace. The Christians of the early centuries loved decorating the graves of their dead with the crown of victory and the olive branch, symbol of peace. They knew that Christ has conquered death and their dead rested in the peace of Christ. They knew that Christ was waiting for them, He who promised them peace that the world cannot give. "
"Christians, therefore, should be people of peace, people who recognize and live the mystery of the Cross as the mystery of reconciliation. Christ does not win by the sword, but through the Cross. He wins by overcoming hatred. He wins by virtue of his greater love. The Cross of Christ expresses his "no" to violence. And so it is a sign of God's victory, announcing the new path of Jesus. The sufferer was stronger than those who held power. "
"Another symbolism associated with oil is that it strengthens for battle - continued Benedict XVI - This is not inconsistent with the theme of peace, but it is a part of it. The struggle of the Christians was and is non- violent, but in the fact that they were and are still are prepared to suffer for good, for God. It is in that fact that Christians, as good citizens, respect the law and do what is right and good. It is in the fact that they refuse to do what in current legislation is not a right, but an injustice. The struggle of the martyrs was in their concrete 'no' to injustice: rejecting participation in idolatrous worship, the worship of the emperor, refusing to bow before the false, the worship of human beings and their power. With their 'no' to what was false and all its consequences they raised the power of law and truth. Thus they served true peace. Even today it is important for Christians to follow the law, which is the foundation of peace. Even today it is important for Christians not to accept injustice that is elevated in law - for example, when it comes to the killing of innocent unborn children. In this way we serve peace, and thus we follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ. "
"In the ancient Church consecrated oil was especially considered a sign of the presence of the Holy Spirit, through which Christ communicates to us. He is the oil of gladness. This joy is something different from entertainment or outward happiness that modern society longs for. Fun in its right place, is certainly something good and enjoyable. It is good to laugh. But fun is not everything. It is only a small part of our lives, and where it wants to be everything it becomes a mask to hide despair or at least doubts about whether life really is good, or whether it would perhaps be better not to exist at all. The joy that comes to us from Christ, is different. It gives us joy, yes, but it certainly can live alongside pain. It gives us the ability to suffer and yet, in suffering, to remain deeply grateful. It gives us the ability to share the suffering of others and thus reveal the light and goodness of God through sharing".