04/04/2012, 00.00
SRI LANKA
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Card Ranjith tells priests to live in Christ, follow the Church

by Melani Manel Perera
During Chrism Mass, Card Malcolm Ranjith urged more than 200 religious to follow the Lord for "we belong to Christ totally and integrally". The bishop is not superman but "one like you" with whom to collaborate to help the people of God to find their back to Him.

Colombo (AsiaNews) - "Let us then reflect about the beauty and the dignity of our vocation as priests and allow the Lord to shine through us, weak though we are, leading us to where he wishes to take us-writing the beautiful story of our life," said Card Malcolm Ranjith, archbishop of Colombo, in his homily during the Holy Chrism Mass held in All Saints Church, Borella in Colombo. Some 200 priests from 123 parishes in the diocese took part in the liturgy. The prelate co-celebrated the Mass with Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Joseph Spiteri, Auxiliaries Bishop Emmanuel Fernando and Bishop Maxwell Silva as well as Archbishops Emeriti Nicholas Marcus Fernando and Oswald Gomis.

In the past few years, the Chrism Mass has been held on the Monday before Easter rather than Holy Thursday to allow every priest in the diocese to participate.

Speaking to the religious present, Card Ranjith said, "Dear Fathers today as we renew our priestly promises we ought to recall this most important aspect of our priestly identity," namely that "we belong to Christ totally and integrally. St Paul [. . .] saw this 'belonging' as the key element of his spiritual strength. 'I live yet not I, but Christ lives in me' (Gal, 2:20). [. . .] On our ordination day, willingly we accepted to allow the Lord to own us so that he may lead us and make our lives fruitful for him".

"Your bishop," the cardinal explained, "is one like you who by the will of God and the favour of the Holy Father has been entrusted for a given period of time with the task of shepherding this diocese. He is not a superman though. And he cannot do this work alone. The Lord has placed you" in a position "to collaborate with him so that with your cooperation he can help the people of God in this part of the Church to find their way back to Him." It is "the way through which the Lord fashions your life, and mine too, [thus] making them bear fruit-whatever the task that is assigned to each one of us. No one is indispensible; it is true. But everyone has to join in."

Benedict XVI once said, "Our obedience is a believing with the Church, thinking and speaking with the Church, serving through her." Indeed, "letting oneself be guided where one does not want to be led is an essential dimension for service and it is exactly what makes us free".

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