THE PRIESTHOOD OF CHRISTOn the Cross, in filial obedience, He offered Himself as a victim in an act of extreme love towards
the Father and his brothers.
He is the only mediator between God and men. No one can reach the Father without passing through Christ.
On the Cross, in filial obedience, He offered Himself as a victim in an act of extreme love towards
the Father and his brothers.
Christ disposed his priesthood should be shared through two aspects:
- the aspect of worship, which qualifies all the baptized to present their offers to God
- the aspect of mediation , which Christ entrusted to ministerial priesthood.
THE COMMON PRIESTHOOD OF THE BAPTIZEDThe basis of all Christian life is Baptism which cleanses our sin and regenerates us as sons of God , makes us members of Christ and incorporates us in the Church
By the regeneration and the anointing of the Holy Spirit, Baptism makes us share the priesthood of Christ in his priestly, prophetical, and kingly functions.
The baptized are called to offer themselves to God. Their prayers, works, apostolic initiatives, relaxation itself, if carried out in the Spirit, and even the hardships of life, if patiently borne, become sacrifices acceptable to the Father.
In his first epistle St. Peter writes: “coming to the Lord as to a living stone – the baptized are -chosen as living stones to build up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ” (cfr 1Pt.2,4-5).
St. Paul, too, in his epistle to the Romans, affirms: “I beseech you , brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship” (Rm. 12,1).
This offer culminates in the Eucharistic liturgy, when the faithful unite their own lives to the offering of bread and wine so that Christ can assume them in his oblation and offer them to the Father.
Participating in the prophetic function of Christ, the baptized receive the Gospel with faith, announce it by a living testimony as well as by the spoken word, paying attention to the problems of society and of the world.
They must spread the spirit of the Gospel everywhere: in family, professional and social life, in culture and politics.
The priesthood of the baptized is called “kingly” because it is a participation in the function of Christ the King.
Christ is King because he offered himself in sacrifice for our sins, as it is written in the Letter to the Hebrews, “He sits for ever on the right hand of God” (Heb. 10:12) and shares the sovereignty of the Father.
His kingliness is not for a temporal kingdom, but for a spiritual lordship, which consists in leading men to the truth, freeing them from sin.
To live the kingly function the baptized must overcome the kingdom of sin within themselves, promote justice, serve Christ present in their brothers, especially in the poor and suffering, and lead men and all creation towards their ultimate end which is the glory of God.
MINISTERIAL PRIESTHOODIn the Church, beside the common priesthood of the baptized, there are those, who by divine calling, receive the sacrament of Holy Orders, a priesthood called ministerial. They are the presbyters who visibly represent Christ in his function as mediator.
They operate in His name and in His person. Their ministry, which is at the service of the baptismal priesthood, consists in presiding over the Eucharist, in administering the sacraments, in transmitting the Word of God with authority and in leading the community of believers.
Through Baptism we are incorporated into Christ and participate in his
priestly, prophetical and royal functions.
We live the priestly, prophetic and royal functions:
- By offering God ourselves and the acts of our lives, uniting our offering to the Eucharistic liturgy .
- By proclaiming the Gospel by a living testimony as well as by the spoken word,
- By working to establish the Kingdom of God among men.