CCC 436 The word “Christ” comes from the Greek translation of the Hebrew Messiah, which means “anointed”. It became the name proper to Jesus only because he accomplished perfectly the divine mission that “Christ” signifies. In effect, in Israel those consecrated to God for a mission that he gave were anointed in his name. This was the case for kings, for priests and, in rare instances, for prophets.1 This had to be the case all the more so for the Messiah whom God would send to inaugurate his kingdom definitively.2 It was necessary that the Messiah be anointed by the Spirit of the Lord at once as king and priest, and also as prophet.3 Jesus fulfilled the messianic hope of Israel in his threefold office of priest, prophet and king.
CCC 695 Anointing. The symbolism of anointing with oil also signifies the Holy Spirit,4 to the point of becoming a synonym for the Holy Spirit. In Christian initiation, anointing is the sacramental sign of Confirmation, called “chrismation” in the Churches of the East. Its full force can be grasped only in relation to the primary anointing accomplished by the Holy Spirit, that of Jesus. Christ (in Hebrew “messiah”) means the one “anointed” by God’s Spirit. There were several anointed ones of the Lord in the Old Covenant, pre-eminently King David.5 But Jesus is God’s Anointed in a unique way: the humanity the Son assumed was entirely anointed by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit established him as “Christ.”6 The Virgin Mary conceived Christ by the Holy Spirit who, through the angel, proclaimed him the Christ at his birth, and prompted Simeon to come to the temple to see the Christ of the Lord.7 The Spirit filled Christ and the power of the Spirit went out from him in his acts of healing and of saving.8 Finally, it was the Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead.9 Now, fully established as “Christ” in his humanity victorious over death, Jesus pours out the Holy Spirit abundantly until “the saints” constitute – in their union with the humanity of the Son of God – that perfect man “to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ”:10 “the whole Christ,” in St. Augustine’s expression.
CCC 714 This is why Christ inaugurates the proclamation of the Good News by making his own the following passage from Isaiah:11
The Spirit of the LORD God is upon me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to bring good tidings to the afflicted;
he has sent me to bind up the broken hearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor.
CCC 716 The People of the “poor”12 – those who, humble and meek, rely solely on their God’s mysterious plans, who await the justice, not of men but of the Messiah – are in the end the great achievement of the Holy Spirit’s hidden mission during the time of the promises that prepare for Christ’s coming. It is this quality of heart, purified and enlightened by the Spirit, which is expressed in the Psalms. In these poor, the Spirit is making ready “a people prepared for the Lord.”13
CCC 1286 In the Old Testament the prophets announced that the Spirit of the Lord would rest on the hoped-for Messiah for his saving mission.14 The descent of the Holy Spirit on Jesus at his baptism by John was the sign that this was he who was to come, the Messiah, the Son of God.15 He was conceived of the Holy Spirit; his whole life and his whole mission are carried out in total communion with the Holy Spirit whom the Father gives him “without measure.”16
1 Cf. Ex 29:7; Lev 8:12; 1 Sam 9:16; 10:1; 16:1, 12-13; I Kings 1:39; 19:16.
2 Cf. Ps 2:2; Acts 4:26-27.
3 Cf. Is 11:2; 61:1; Zech 4:14; 6:13; Lk 4:16-21.
4 Cf. 1 In 2:20:27; 2 Cor 1:21.
5 Cf. Ex 30:22-32; 1 Sam 16:13.
6 Cf. Lk 418-19; Isa 61:1.
7 Cf. Lk 2:11,26-27.
8 Cf. Lk 4:1; 6:19; 8:46.
9 Cf. Rom 1:4; 8:11.
10 Eph 4:13; cf. Acts 2:36.
11 Isa 61:1-2; cf. Lk 4:18-19.
12 Cf. Zeph 2:3; Pss 22:27; 34:3; Isa 49:13; 61:1; etc.
13 Lk 1:17.
14 Cf. Isa 11:2; 61:1; Lk 4:16-22.
15 Cf. Mt 3:13-17; Jn 1:33-34.
16 Jn 3:34.