Every year on Holy Thursday morning or on an earlier day within the Holy Week, the Catholic bishop of a diocese presides over the Chrism Mass which is concelebrated by his priests. During the Mass, the priests renew their priestly commitment, and the bishop blesses the oils of the sick and of catechumens. He also consecrates the chrism oil, after which the (Chrism) Mass was named. The oil of the sick is used in the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick, while the oil of catechumens is used in Baptism. Chrism oil is also used in Baptism as well as in Confirmation and the ordinations of priests and bishops.


The theme of this reflection is “The Lord has anointed me”. This theme is taken from the very first verse of the passage which our Lord Jesus read from the scroll of the prophet Isaiah: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me” (Isa. 61:1; cf. Luke 4:18). Let us reflect on this theme along the following three points:

  • Anointing
  • The Anointing of Jesus
  • Exhibiting Holistic Anointing


When an ointment (which is a kind of oil) is used to treat an aching muscle, it is applied to the external part of the body, but then it effects an internal action on the muscles. Similarly, in the sacraments, whereas the oils of catechumens, chrism and the sick are externally applied, the action of the Holy Spirit takes place internally in us.  Thus, as cited above, we can say, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me” (Isa. 61:1; cf. Luke 4:18).

The Lord has anointed me.  Whereas our anointing by the Lord is always complete, we may exhibit the action of the Holy Spirit in our lives in varying degrees. This depends on how we cooperate well with God’s grace.  An inadequate demonstration of the Lord’s anointing could be likened to kwashiorkor. That is, a severe form of malnutrition. It is most common in babies and children who do not get enough protein or other essential nutrients in their diet. Such children are lean with big bellies.  Similarly, today, though some people are referred to as “anointed men/women of God”, they actually exhibit spiritual kwashiorkor. Why? Because they demonstrate only one or two nutrients of the Lord’s anointing; e.g., one is seen as praying passionately just because he shouts when praying; one seems to have the power of healing, but the Lord is not the source of his power; another preaches well but his lifestyle is contrary to the Gospel of Christ, etc.

How then can we exhibit a “balanced diet” of the Lord’s anointing on us? We find the answer in the One whose name, Christ, means “the Anointed One”. No wonder, He is the One in whom the prophecy of Isaiah 61 finds perfect fulfilment.  Thus, after reading, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has anointed me…” (Luke 4:18), He would affirm with all certainty that “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing” (Luke 4:21).


Beloved, our Lord Jesus demonstrated a “balanced diet” or holistic anointing, so let us learn from Him.   Several months before our Lord Jesus Christ would read in the Synagogue of Nazareth that “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has anointed me…”, the Spirit had actually descended like a dove upon Him and anointed Him at His baptism in the River Jordan (cf. Matt. 3:16; Acts 10:36-38).

Jesus Christ was anointed as prophet, priest and king; and He exhibited all these three anointing roles in His life and ministry. That is, He exhibited a holistic anointing. Even from the short passage that He read from Isaiah we see all these three roles.

Jesus as Prophet:  The anointed prophets of old preached the good news to the poor (i.e., those who looked up to God for help).  Similarly, Jesus Christ preached the good news to the poor. Again, as the prophets of old healed the sick, including the blind, so Jesus did not only proclaim recovery of sight to the blind, but He also healed blind and countless other sick people.

Jesus as Priest: In the Old Testament, it was the priest who blew the trumpet to announce the jubilee year or the acceptable year of the Lord.  More so, Jesus as priest would proclaim the acceptable time of the Lord’s salvation with His precious blood which sounds louder than any trumpet, as it reaches every generation and the very presence of God in heaven (cf. Heb. 12:24; Rev. 1:5; 7:13-14).

Jesus as King: Unlike today’s Presidents of nations who enjoy the title of “Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces” but don’t go to the battle fields, the Kings of old were truly Commanders who led their armies for wars.  Jesus the King is the true Commander who battles to release those captured by sins. Again, as kings have the authority to set free those who are oppressed, so Jesus the King gives freedom to those oppressed by evil and injustice.


Beloved, it is by exhibiting in our lives Christ’s threefold ministry of prophecy, priesthood and kingship that we display holistic anointing. Fortunately, by our Baptism and Confirmation, as signified by the Oil of Chrism (named after Christ), we are anointed to share in the threefold ministry of Christ as prophets, priests and royals of God (cf. Rev. 1:5-8; 1Pet. 2:5, 9). Then, the ordained ministers, also anointed with Oil of Chrism, share in a special way the threefold ministry of Christ in order to serve the whole Church.

Sharing in the Prophetic Ministry of Christ: Like Christ the Prophet, we should preach the good news by our words and deeds. We, the ordained ministers in particular, should ask ourselves whether we are zealous enough about the prophetic ministry.

Sharing in the Priesthood of Christ: Firstly, Christ the priest is the only Mediator between God and humans (1 Tim. 2:5), so let us become passionate intercessors through daily fervent prayers. Secondly, we share in the priesthood of Christ who is holy, holy, holy. We should, therefore, lead holy lives. Then, our prayers will have great power (James 5:16).

Sharing in the Kingship of Christ: Let us lead people who are under the captivity of sin or the oppression of evil to Christ the King and Commander-in-Chief, that they may enjoy His deliverance and freedom.

Beloved, on the one hand, let us endeavour to avoid the spiritual kwashiorkor which exhibits only one aspect of the Lord’s anointing. On the other hand, let us strive, with the help of the grace of the Spirit, to demonstrate a holistic anointing which combines all the three ministries of prophets, priests and royals of God.


As the ordained priests renew their promises today and as all of us (the ordained, religious and lay faithful) renew our baptismal promises at Easter, may the anointing action of the Holy Spirit be renewed in each of us.

Finally, may the renewed action of the Holy Spirit enable us to avoid any spiritual kwashiorkor while He empowers us to exhibit a “balanced diet” of the anointing of priests, prophets and royals of God. Amen!

By Most Rev. John Kobina Louis

Bishop John Kobina Louis

Most Rev. John Kobina Louis is an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Accra, Ghana. More about him here.

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Catholic Homilies and Sermons for the Liturgical Year by Most Rev. John Kobina Louis, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Accra, Ghana.

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