Here is a bold statement: I am anointed. Now, before you start thinking that I’m really full of myself, consider this: You, too, are anointed. What does that mean?
Let’s begin by looking at some anointings in the Bible.
Moses is anointed to bring God’s people out of slavery in Egypt.
Aaron and his sons are anointed as priests to Israel.
Elijah and Samuel are anointed as prophets.
Saul and David are anointed as kings.
Jesus said in Luke 4:18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor.”
You might think that all of the anointing is done, but Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians, It is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.
So there it is. I am anointed. You are anointed. We are anointed as priests, prophets, and kings in our baptism. Priests offer sacrifices to God. We should do that, too. Prophets speak God’s truth to the world. We should do that, too. Kings lead others to God, and we ought to do that as well.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church says that “those who are anointed, share more completely in the mission of Jesus Christ.”
What is the mission of Jesus Christ? To bring glad tidings to the poor. To proclaim the Kingdom of God.
I am anointed to bring the light of Christ into the world. I should be a reflection of God’s light. Every step I take, every move I make (as Sting would say) someone is watching me. Not in a creepy stalker way (I hope) but with curiosity. I am open about my Catholic faith. Skeptics might watch to see if I live it or if I’m a hypocrite. Seekers might watch to see if my faith makes me different from unbelievers. Other Catholics might watch to see if I know what it means to be a Catholic Christian.
All that watching is why our words and actions matter so much in the world. We are anointed to share in God’s mission. This is a great responsibility. Maybe a little scary, especially knowing how imperfect we are. But it is also really exciting to know that God has called us to be part of His plan of salvation. I may have been picked last in gym class (for good reason), but nobody is picked last when it comes to serving God.
Since we are anointed, how do we live that anointing? Here are four ways. (There are many more)
In our personal relationships. God puts people in our lives. Some of them will bless us through their anointing. Others we will bless through our anointing. Maybe they point us to God when we are wandering in the desert. My friend Mary Claire did that for me, and brought me back to the church after 20 years away. Anointed people correct us when we are not being honest, like the Apostle Paul did for Peter, who behaved differently with the Gentiles than with the Jews (Galatians 2). We have a great responsibility in our personal relationships to speak God’s truth and to share His love.
Using our gifts. God has gifted each of us with talents. Romans 12 lists some gifts we might have, like service or teaching or generosity. Our gifts are for the building up of the church. I have the gift of teaching. I wasn’t always a great teacher, but I had some talent. I developed it over many years, with lots of practice and lots of mistakes. Now I am able to use that gift in service to God. Maybe you’re a great cook. How does God want you to use that gift for the building up of the Kingdom? Maybe you are to provide meals every now and then to seniors who live alone. You bring a meal and stay for some conversation. When you do that, you bring God’s love into the world.
In our families. The family is called the Domestic Church. Do I treat my family members with respect? Am I patient? Is God part of our life? It doesn’t matter if you are the only one in the family who believes in Jesus as Lord and Savior. You are still called to live your anointing in the home. Many of us have adult kids who don’t seem to have much of a faith life, and that is a heartbreaker for a parent. We should never give up on their conversion. We are anointed. What is God calling us to do? It could be prayer and only prayer. It might be prayer and some kind of action. You can only know what to do through prayer.
In our purpose. Each of us has a purpose – something God has called us to do to further the Kingdom. I think my purpose is to be an encourager, drawing people closer to God through whatever struggles they face; helping them see God’s hand in their life and hear God’s voice. I do this as a spiritual director, in my writing, and in the retreats I lead. I want people to know that they are loved. I want them to recognize when the enemy is attacking and reject his lies. I want them to believe that with God they can do anything. I love that God has anointed me for this purpose.
I am anointed. You are anointed. We are anointed so we can make a difference in the world. I remember as a teenager that I wanted to change the world. I thought that meant being famous and doing something that would make history. I know now that I am changing the world, but not by being famous. There is a pretty small group of people who know my name. I have not yet done anything that will be written in the history books, and I am pretty certain that’s not going to happen in my future. But I am changing the world, in small ways. I open someone’s eyes to God’s love. I encourage someone to take a leap of faith. I correct someone when they think God has given up on them. I invite someone to learn more about God. I celebrate when a friend has a conversion to Christ. And I pray.
That’s the other thing about being anointed. I have to be united to Christ if I am going to have any impact in the world. He is the vine and I am one of the branches. I’m nothing without Him. My prayer life is essential. I just read a quote today shared by Bishop Robert Barron. The quote was from Erasmo Leiva-Merikakis. He said: "The deepest meaning of Christian discipleship is not to work for Jesus but to be with Jesus.” It’s true that I am called to work for Jesus, but I can’t do that if I don’t spend time with Him. It’s easy to become all Martha and no Mary. But Jesus said that Mary chose the better part. So I encourage you to put first things first – Time with God. And all things will fall into place after that.
We are the anointed ones. What a privilege. What a gift. What a responsibility! We are Moses and Aaron, Elijah and Samuel, Saul and David. We’re in good company. So let’s live that anointing every day.
Questions for prayer:
Do you feel anointed? If not, what are the obstacles keeping you from recognizing this truth?
How can you live your anointing more fully each day?