Saint Agnes, Virgin and Martyr (Memorial)

 

From that day on, the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon David. 

 

Anointing was a common practice in ancient Israel.   People often used perfumed oil to refresh themselves or to soothe and heal wounds.   They also used it to anoint kings and priests.   Pouring oil over a person was a way of setting him aside for God’s service in a special way.   Such people became God’s “anointed ones,” empowered by him to fulfill their duties.

In today’s first reading (1 Samuel 16:13) , God makes it clear that David, the youngest of Jesse’s sons, is to be Israel’s next king.   God does this by having Samuel anoint him.   Through this anointing, God fills David with his Spirit.  God’s Spirit would now be with David through all the challenges he would face, including his forty-year reign as king.

When you were baptized, you were also anointed with oil.   The sacred chrism, the oil consecrated by the bishop, “signifies the gift of the Holy Spirit to the newly baptized.”   In that anointing, you were “incorporated into Christ who is anointed priest, prophet, and king” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1241).

It’s true;   God’s Spirit really did rush into you when you were baptized, just as it rushed upon David.   That’s because sacraments aren’t just religious ceremonies—they bring about what they signify.   Just as King David’s anointing empowered him to fulfill his office, your baptism empowered and strengthened you.   It equipped you as priest, to grow in holiness and to help others do the same;   as prophet, to proclaim the truth of the gospel; and as king, to bring God’s kingdom into the world.

This is a high calling, and it can seem beyond our strength or ability.   Maybe David felt the same way when Samuel anointed him.   Yet through every difficulty, he must have recalled that extraordinary day and the gift of the Spirit he had received.   Your baptismal day was extraordinary as well.   Even if you were too young to remember it, something amazing happened:   like Jesus, you were “anointed . . . with the holy Spirit and power” (Acts 10:38).

May we always honor and treasure this great gift by calling on the Spirit for our every need!

“Lord, let me never forget the great gift of the Spirit, whom you gave me in Baptism.”

Psalm 89:20-22, 27-28
Mark 2:23-28

WORD AMONG US