“There is a folk saying which has some truth; oil and water don’t mix,” Archbishop Vigneron said during his homily at Thursday’s Chrism Mass at the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament. “The liturgy gives the lie to that. As I read the text for the consecration of the sacred chrism, it clearly says that oil and water belong together.
“All the sacraments are tied intimately to the mystery of the Lord’s own life. Today in the liturgy, the church through consecrating the chrism points out that what Jesus experiences in the Jordan (River), when he was baptized by John, is continued today through the sacred chrism. After Jesus came out of the water, He was anointed with the descent of the Holy Spirit, by which He was confirmed for the world as the son of God. After washing, there was anointing.”As is tradition with the Chrism Mass at the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament, Archbishop Vigneron blessed the oil and consecrated the chrism that’ll be used this Easter Vigil to welcome hundreds of new Catholics throughout the Archdiocese of Detroit.
Archbishop Vigneron said the consecrating of people with oil was done throughout the Old Testament, signifying the person being anointed is being sent on a mission.
“If we think more about the chrism, we know more about confirmation,” Archbishop Vigneron said. “We are confirmed in our being adopted as sons and daughters of the Father, through the Holy Spirit. When Jesus was anointed, it was because He was sent for a purpose. To announce the Good News to the world. Confirmed as it says, being confirmed in a mission.”
Archbishop Vigneron recognized the candidates and catechumens who are about to enter the church, telling them they are taking up a sacred mission from God, to go out and proclaim the Gospel to the world, a mission that all members of the church must fulfill.
“Sometimes, we say confirmation is about full initiation into the church,” Archbishop Vigneron said. “Sometimes, that can be a bit trivial. It’s too little. We are fully initiated into the church, so that we can take up the church’s mission. This is why we are confirmed.
“In the church, there are no bystanders, nobody belongs on the bench. Nobody belongs on the second string.”
The Chrism Mass also was an opportunity for priests of the archdiocese to affirm their commitment to priestly service, renewing their vows to Archbishop Vigneron.
“Let us not only affirm this, but believe in this,” Archbishop Vigneron said. “Let us for a moment, reflect on this same chrism, anointing on our hands. This tool of tools, it is from hands which our work is accomplished. Tools are made for hands. It is from which our hands to the work. Because we’re all about making so people are ready to perform their work, to go out and serve in the New Evangelization.”
As the priests received their supply of oil for the sick, oil of catechumens and the holy chrism, they were instructed to take them back to their parishes before the Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper or at another time that seemed more appropriate.
“We’ve been praying for a New Pentecost for years now,” Archbishop Vigneron said. “Today, I’m affirmed God is answering those prayers through confirmation. Chrism — it’s the New Pentecost in a bottle. We are the gifts we need to be a band of joyful missionary disciples.”