Fr. Francis Scaria
Every anointing by God flows down to God’s people. God anoints certain persons not to recognise their abilities and talents, but to reach His beloved people, especially those whose lamentations reach His ears. Every anointing is a response of God to His people. In the Synagogue of Nazareth, Jesus was given the scroll of the Prophet Isaiah. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written, “..... he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor ... to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour” (Lk 4:18-19).
Have I ever understood what the Lord has anointed me to do for his people? As a priest, I know I am a mediator between God and His people. God reaches His people through me and my people reach God through me! Isn’t this terrific even to imagine? The fact that the names of the twelve sons of Israel were to be engraved on the stones attached to the vestments of Aaron (cf. Ex 28) reminds every priest that he enters the sanctuary of the Lord with the concerns of Lord’s people. “So Aaron shall bear the names of the sons of Israel in the breastpiece of judgement on his heart when he goes into the holy place for a continual remembrance before the Lord” (Ex 28:29). Imagine the oil of the anointing running over the vestments of Aaron studded with stones engraved with the names of the twelve sons of Israel representing the whole people of God.
Moses understood his tremendous responsibility towards his people. That is why he could go even to the extent of saying, “But now, if you will only forgive their sin – but if not, blot me out of the book that you have written” (Ex 32:32). The loose vestment that the priest wears at the Liturgical services symbolise the immeasurable anointing that reaches from God to His people through the ministry of God’s anointed priest. People experience this anointing as salvation, freedom, joy, peace and love.
Jesus’ own anointing reached the people through his ministry. The anointed one is not kept inside, but sent out, sent out to the people to minister to them, bringing the Kingdom of God to them. The fulfilment of the anointing is to be found in the liberating ministry of the anointed one. Look at how Jesus wanted John the Baptist to recognise that He was the ‘one to come’. “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the poor have good news brought to them” (Lk 7:22).
In Mt 9:19-22 we are told that “a woman who had been suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years came up behind him and touched the fringe of his cloak” and she was instantly healed. In fact, the anointing of Jesus which runs down over his cloak reached this poor woman and healed her. Let the oil of the Lord’s anointing over me reach all the people around me!
MUSINGS : 1-25,