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Receiving and sharing Jesus’ light brings true freedom

Nearly 500 attend Chrism Mass at Boise Cathedral


Click on the photo to see the photo gallery taken at the Chrism Mass by Joe Egbert for the ICR.


By Emily Woodham

Assistant Editor


BOISE — “People are searching for freedom,” said Bishop Peter Christensen in his homily at the annual Diocesan Chrism Mass on March 14 at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist in Boise.


During Lent, Bishop Peter and a team of priests and prayer partners visited 12 parishes in six deaneries to celebrate the Rite of Election and healing Masses. Over 3,500 attended the healing Masses, and about 1,500 are entering the Church in Idaho this Easter Vigil. Nearly half of the 500 who participated in the Chrism Mass also attended a healing Mass.


“At the healing Masses, so many people wanted freedom from their anxieties and fears, as well as physical ailments, that can so often keep people imprisoned emotionally and spiritually,” he said.


Bishop Peter explained that Jesus wants us to take to heart the message of the Gospel reading proclaimed at the Chrism Mass: Luke 4:16-21.


Jesus declares He is the fulfillment of a prophecy from Isaiah: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.” (Lk 4:18-19).


Bishop Peter said the proclamation of “a year acceptable to the Lord” is as true today as it was then. But just as people rejected Jesus’ message then, they continue to deny it today. After Jesus spoke in the synagogue, people tried to throw Him off a cliff, but He walked away through the crowd.


“Why the rejection? Why the closed heart? Why is it the same today? We know that many people in our own day have turned their backs on truth and the freedom that Jesus freely offers to humanity.”


“He suffered for us so that we may be free. Why do people cut themselves off from such a great gift? It goes back to original sin.”


He explained that self-reliance is the cause of original sin. “For some reason, we want to do things ourselves, blocking out that which helps. The opposite of that is surrender, giving ourselves over to our Creator to understand the true meaning of life as intended.”

“There is a purpose to Creation,” he said, and God wants us to be in sync with that purpose. He then referred to Psalm 36:10: “For with You, Lord, is the fountain of life and in your light we see light itself.”


Bishop Peter used physics to illustrate how Jesus’ light gives us true freedom. He explained that the human eye can detect visible light, which is only a portion of the electromagnetic spectrum. “It’s very strange: radiation and x-rays (which are also in the electromagnetic spectrum), we can’t see. But our eyes are sensitive to the seven wavelengths of light that appear to us as color.”


He explained that the color we see on any given object is a wavelength reflected back to our eyes. All light has the full spectrum of seven colors within it, but the color we see is made of the wavelengths of light not absorbed by the material. For example, an apple reflects the color red but absorbs the other colors in the spectrum.


If all colors within the white light spectrum are absorbed by the object and not reflected, the color of that object is seen as black. If all colors reflect off the object, the color is seen as white.


Bishop Peter then linked the physics of light to the spiritual life. “All humanity shares in the spectrum of gifts of creation put forth by our heavenly Father. Every blessing we receive is a blessing from God. Everything we enjoy is a blessing created by God,” he said.


Those who receive God’s gift of light and share their gifts with others have true freedom, as designed by God. Freely sharing with others what they have received, they are like white light, which appears when all wavelengths are reflected. But the person who takes in all that has been given by God and chooses to keep it to himself, reflecting nothing back to others, appears as darkness. Such a person, preferring self-reliance and self-absorption, ultimately cannot see and lives in confusion.


The Lord wants His people to be set free, he said. God offers liberty to anyone who is held captive and enslaved by fear and anxiety and who is thinking falsely that life is limited to this world alone.


“We are called through our prayer to reflect God’s love and joy, to witness to the poor in spirit who seek the truth that there is meaning and purpose for their lives.”


He explained that God wants each person to use the gift of faith he or she has received for God’s glory and the good of others. Bishop Peter concluded the homily

with words engraved on the wall of St. Mother Teresa of Kolkata’s Home for Children: “Give the world the best you have, and it may not be enough. Give the best you’ve got anyway.”


About 60 priests from parishes around the Diocese attended the Chrism Mass, during which they renewed their vows to the priesthood.


At the Chrism Mass, the bishop blesses the Oil of Catechumens, which is used for pre-baptismal anointing to strengthen the person until the day of their baptism. He likewise blesses the Oil of the Sick, which brings healing and comfort to those who are ill. He also consecrates the Sacred Chrism oil, used in post-baptismal anointing for those being Confirmed and ordained as deacons, priests, or bishops. After the Mass, representatives from each parish deliver the Holy Oils to their home churches, where they are used throughout the year.


If you enjoyed this story and would like to read more like it, please consider buying a subscription to the Idaho Catholic Register. Your $20 yearly subscription also supports the work of the Diocese of Boise Communications Department, which includes not only the newspaper, but this website, social media posts and videos. You can subscribe here, or through your parish, or send a check to 1501 S. Federal Way, Boise, ID, 83705: or call 208-350-7554 to leave a credit card payment. Thank you, and God bless you.



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FAX: (208) 342-0224

1501 S. FEDERAL WAY, SUITE 400, BOISE, ID 83705

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