Tuesday, March 14, 2017
Youcat commented through CCC – Question n. 259 - Part II.
(Youcat answer - repeated) Through Baptism Christ has made us into a kingdom of “priests to his God and Father” (Rev 1:6). Through the universal priesthood, every Christian is called to work in the world in God’s name and to bring blessings and grace to it. In the Upper Room during the Last Supper and when he commissioned the Apostles, however, Christ equipped some with a sacred authority to serve the faithful; these ordained priests represent Christ as pastors (shepherds) of his people and as head of his Body, the Church.
A deepening through CCC
(CCC 1548) In the ecclesial service of the ordained minister, it is Christ himself who is present to his Church as Head of his Body, Shepherd of his flock, high priest of the redemptive sacrifice, Teacher of Truth. This is what the Church means by saying that the priest, by virtue of the sacrament of Holy Orders, acts in persona Christi Capitis (Cf. LG 10; 28; SC 33; CD 11; PO 2; 6): It is the same priest, Christ Jesus, whose sacred person his minister truly represents. Now the minister, by reason of the sacerdotal consecration which he has received, is truly made like to the high priest and possesses the authority to act in the power and place of the person of Christ himself (virtute ac persona ipsius Christi) (Pius XII, encyclical, Mediator Dei: AAS, 39 (1947) 548). Christ is the source of all priesthood: the priest of the old law was a figure of Christ, and the priest of the new law acts in the person of Christ (St. Thomas Aquinas, STh III, 22, 4c).
Reflecting and meditating
(Youcat comment) Using the same word, “priest”, for two related things that nevertheless “differ essentially and not only in degree” (Second Vatican Council, LG 10, 2) often leads to misunderstandings. On the one hand, we should observe with joy that all the baptized are “priests” because we live in Christ and share in everything he is and does. Why, then, do we not call down a permanent blessing on this world? On the other hand, we must rediscover God’s gift to his Church, the ordained priests, who represent the Lord himself among us.
(CCC 1549) Through the ordained ministry, especially that of bishops and priests, the presence of Christ as head of the Church is made visible in the midst of the community of believers (Cf. LG 21). In the beautiful expression of St. Ignatius of Antioch, the bishop is typos tou Patros: he is like the living image of God the Father (St. Ignatius of Antioch, Ad Trall. 3, 1: SCh 10, 96; cf. Ad Magn. 6, 1: SCh 10, 82-84).