Vatican City ( AsiaNews ) - The Church cannot be understood or explained without the anointing that gives bishops and priests the power of the Spirit, through which "many gave strength to the people, transmitted doctrine, bestowed the sacraments, in short holiness".
The meaning and value of the anointing, which binds bishops and priests to the Lord and gives them the joy and strength "to lead people, to help people, to live at the service of people", even if they are sinners, was the focus of Pope Francis' homily during the Mass this morning at Casa Santa Marta.
Vatican Radio reports that the Pope reflected on the first reading of the day which speaks of the tribes of Israel who anointed David as their king. "Without this anointing - he observed - David would have been only the head" of "a society", of a "political society, which was the Kingdom of Israel", he would have been a mere "political organizer" . Instead, "after the anointing, the Spirit of the Lord" descends upon David and stays with him. And the Scripture says, "David grew steadily more powerful, and the Lord God of hosts was with him". "This is the exact difference of anointing". "The bishops are elected not only to manage an organization, which is called the particular Church, they are anointed, they have been anointed with the Spirit of the Lord. But all bishops, all of us, we are all sinners! But we are all anointed...all of us want to be holier every day, more faithful to this anointing. And what makes the Church particular, what gives unity to the Church, is the person of the bishop, in the name of Jesus Christ, because he is anointed, not because he was voted by a majority. Because he is anointed. And the strength of a particular church lies in this anointing. And in participation priests too are anointed".
The anointing binds the bishops and priests to the Lord and gives them the joy and strength "to lead a people, to help people, to live at the service of the people". It gifts them the joy of being "chosen by the Lord, watched by the Lord, with that love with which the Lord looks upon us, all of us". Thus, "when we think of the bishops and priests, we must think of them as follows: the anointed ones".
"On the contrary, the Church cannot be understood or explained, it cannot survive by human strength alone. This diocese survives because it has a holy people, so many things, and also an anointed one who leads it and helps it to grow. This parish survives because it has many organizations, so many things, but also a priest, an anointed one who leads it. And down through history we only know a minimal part, how many holy bishops, how many priests, how many holy priests who have spent their lives at the service of the diocese, the parish , how many people have received the power of faith , the power of love, hope from these anonymous pastors, of whom we know nothing. There are so many!".
There are many "country priests and city priests, who with their anointing, have given strength to the people, have transmitted the doctrine, bestowed the sacraments, which is holiness". "'But, Father, I read in a newspaper that a bishop did this thing, or a priest did that thing'. 'Oh yes, I read it too, but answer me this, do the newspapers also speak of the many priests, so many priests in many parishes of the city and the countryside, who do so much charity, who work so hard to lead their people forward?' . Oh no this is not news. No, its always the same: a falling tree makes more noise than a growing forest. Today, as we think about this anointing of David, it would do us good to think of our brave, holy, good, faithful bishops and priests, and pray for them. Thanks to them we are here today".