Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Today, Holy Thursday, is one of the most important and profound days of celebration in the Catholic Church. We celebrate the institution of the Eucharist as the true body and blood of Jesus Christ and the institution of the priesthood.

This morning, in a very special way and to the glory of God, as a family of God, we celebrate Chrism Mass in which we listen to the word of God, celebrate the anniversary of that day when Christ our Lord conferred his priesthood on his apostles and on us; hence, renew our own promises as priests. In other words, this Chrism Mass raises up the priesthood as we recall when Our Lord instituted that Holy Order at the Last Supper.

During this Mass of the Chrism, we recall not only the bonding of the apostles but also our own bonding as priests sharing in the priesthood of Christ. Even the Preface of the Mass this morning reminds us that the one royal priesthood of Jesus Christ continues in the Church through the one People of God. “For Christ not only adorns with a royal priesthood the people he has made his own, but with a brother's kindness he also chooses men to become sharers in his sacred ministry through the laying on of hands.”

It is, therefore, a privilege for me to gather with you, my brother priests, to thank God for having anointed you, and I invite all of us to recommit ourselves to our ordination promises which can easily get lost in the busyness of our ministries. It also gives me the opportunity to thank you for your sacrificial service to the faithful entrusted to us by God. Many of the faithful, from all our parishes of the Archdiocese of Ibadan, are well represented in this Mass of Chrism, namely young and old, male and female, babas and mamas. Deacons and seminarians too are part and parcel of this celebration.

This is, surely, a profound, pragmatic expression of our unity, of our oneness as a family of God manifested in the Catholic Church. We are one in Christ, only with different roles; different branches attached to the vine, that is, Christ expressed in His Church. I do continue to urge you my dear lay faithful:

“To pray for your priests, that the Lord may pour out his gifts abundantly upon them, and keep them faithful as ministers of Christ, the High Priest, so that they may lead you to him, who is the source of salvation.”

Thank you for coming to pray with us, thank you for walking and supporting us, thank you for valuing your priests.

During this Chrism Mass we also want to thank the Lord for keeping us focused on our mission. To share the Good News of Jesus Christ crucified and risen so that others might encounter the beauty and perspective, the mercy and love that a personal relationship with Christ offers. And this encounter is also revealed in the oils which are blessed during this Chrism Mass. In the blessings and consecration of the Holy Oils for the anointing of the Sick, Catechumens and Sacred Chrism, we assure that the gift of anointing will be extended to others in the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Orders. Thus, the prayers over each of the oils are powerful and packed with meaning as they are the inspired words of the Church. In fact, the human qualities of oil are transformed into signs and sacraments which restore our bodies, give a new endurance to our faith, and mirror the fragrance, the meaning of God's blessing.


As we are gathered here as the family of God, each one of us shares the one Baptism and one common priesthood of Jesus Christ. 'He has given us a new birth and welcomed us into his holy people.' It is for this reason that he anoints us with the charism of salvation. “As Christ was anointed Priest, Prophet, and King, so may we live always as members of his body, sharing everlasting life” (cf. Pocket Ritual, p. 13). Each of us, therefore, comes with his or her own gifts and talents; each of us has his or her role and contribution to make within the Church. By sharing our common priesthood, we become missionary disciples of Jesus Christ. Thus, we are all called to witness in our lives the Joy of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Pope Francis in his own ministry gives us a good example on this point. There is no ministry or calling in the Church that is an inward looking or self-centred. Ministry is never about 'I, ME and MYSELF.' As we belong to one body of Christ, we are called to support one another in our mission to reaching out. The missionary disciple who shares that common priesthood of Jesus Christ is always restless till the Good News rests in others.





The ordained priests are human beings called from among the people of God. Our task as ordained priests is to act in the name of Christ; to serve his people. However, we are also open to be nourished and challenged by God's people and through the faith of God's people. All this cannot be a realistic possibility unless we have a strong bonding among ourselves as priests, as brothers. Jesus is calling us today not to 'other the other.' This, indeed, will help us to be confident in disseminating the message of Christ which is stated in his mission statement while quoting Isaiah that:

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord” (Lk. 4:17)

In other words, we cannot give what we do not have, we can only give what we have. It is for this reason that in the Chrism Mass of 2014, Pope Francis reminded us priests and bishops that:

“At our ordination we are anointed with Chrism, the oil of gladness, and this anointing invites us to accept and appreciate this great gift, the joy of being a priest. Priestly joy is a priceless treasure, not only for the priest himself but for the entire faithful people of God, that the faithful people from which he is called to be anointed and to which he, in turn is sent to anoint.”

This implies that we are to encounter the people whom God has entrusted to us just as Jesus himself did. For him, people were not statistics to be analysed or problems to be solved, but human beings with names, faces, families, joys and riefs. In each encounter, Jesus was not the spotlight, but rather the person before him. He reached out and physically touched those who approached him and allowed people to touch himself. 'He smelt his sheep, his people.' These were: the blind, the lame, the dumb, the deaf, the crippled, the paralysed, the maimed, the lepers, the epileptics, the deceased, the possessed, the sinners, the children, the broken-hearted, the widows, the orphans, foreign women, beggars, unemployed, toll/tax collectors, prostitutes, gentile soldiers, the crowds, the rabble or uneducated peasants who were ignorant of the Law. In other words, all those who were “overburdened” (Mt. 11:20), all victims of some sort!

lls us priests to preach beyond the pulpit since deeds speak louder than words. St. Francis of Assisi would say, “Proclaim the Gospel always, using words if necessary.” This is the most effective means of evangelisation. Our life style should be a witness to the Kingdom of God here on earth among the people we minister to. In other words, our life style should not be a scandalous life to God's people.


We are living in a difficult moment, a difficult world, a difficult country. This poses a challenge for us to stand strong for the prophetic teaching of the Church. The culture in which we live seeks to exile God to the ash heap of history; the culture that wants to pocket God. This is a culture which neither respects human life/rights (from conception) nor marriage or family life; a culture which is focused on self-centredness and not on human dignity. It is for this reason that arms industry, drug industry and human trafficking have become highly organised at a global scale; these are inhuman and illegal businesses, depriving that human dignity. Individualism, fundamentalism, fanaticism, radicalism and violence in 'the name of God' like the Boko Haram who are kidnapping children or minors as if they are commodities of objects, have become the song of the day.

We, as priests and all the faithful, created in the image and likeness of God who partake in the Body and Blood of Christ, have no other option than to stand up for the revealed and revered truth even when not well received. We are the ones to bring hope to the hopeless, joy to the joyless, non-violence to the violent, peace to the broken hearted and conflict situations, resurrection to the lifeless since I can say:

 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord” (Lk. 4:17).


Happy Feast Day, Happy Easter in Advance!!!

God bless you all!


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