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THE IMPORTANCE OF PRIESTHOOD IN OUR SOCIETY

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THE IMPORTANCE OF PRIESTHOOD IN OUR SOCIETY

Who is a priest?

A priest is first and foremost a man of prayer. The priest lives in persona Christi, so his most important prayer is to re-present the sacrifice of Jesus during Holy Mass. His parish relies on him to offer a sacrifice “holy and acceptable to God.” Throughout the week, too, at parish meetings and community functions, he is often asked: “Father, will you lead us in prayer?” He is seen as a man who knows how to speak with God.

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A priest spends each day in personal prayer through the Liturgy of the Hours and time in private meditation before the Blessed Sacrament. His private prayer is essential, for he must know Him of Whom he speaks teaches and preaches; he must come to have an intimate relationship with Christ. The priest becomes “another Christ” for his people.

Problems/Issues Priest addresses in our society

CRISIS: In times of crisis we need priest to intervene for the people, Eg, Boko Haram here and there, if we don’t have priests still in that area today, the people there will feel abandon and rejected.

INTERCESSION: They intercede for parishioner by, means of the Holy sacrifice of the mass. Personal prayers.

They Address for National Consultation on Obscenity, Pornography and Indecency.

They Addresses Abortion issues with Confidence.

They share Catholic Social Teaching, Challenges, And Directions

Jesus Christ is our High Priest

High Priest is only one of the many titles applied to Jesus Christ: Messiah, Savior, Son of God, Son of Man, Friend of Sinners, etc. Each one focuses on a particular aspect of who He is and what that means for us. In the book of Hebrews, Jesus is called a High Priest (Hebrews 2:17; 4:14). The word “priest” carries a couple of primary meanings. First, it means one who mediates in religious services. It also means one who is holy or set apart to perform those services.

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The first place we find the word used in the Bible is in Genesis 14. Abraham, the friend of God, entered into battle to rescue his nephew Lot, who had been captured by the army of Elam. On his return, Abraham was met by Melchizedek, King of Salem and priest of the Most High God. This man, whose name means the “king of righteousness,” blessed Abraham and the Most High God who gave victory to Abraham. In return for this blessing, Abraham gave a tithe (10 percent) of all the spoils of war to Melchizedek. By this act, Abraham acknowledged Melchizedek’s high position as the priest of God.

Years later, Abraham’s great-grandson Levi was singled out by God to be the father of the priestly tribe. When the Law was given on Mount Sinai, the Levites were identified as the servants of the Tabernacle, with the family of Aaron becoming the priests. The priests were responsible for making intercession to God for the people by offering the many sacrifices that the law required. Among the priests, one was selected as the High Priest, and he entered into the Most Holy Place once a year on the Day of Atonement to place the blood of the sacrifice on the Ark of the Covenant (Hebrews 9:7). By these daily and yearly sacrifices, the sins of the people were temporarily covered until the Messiah came to take away their sins.

When Jesus is called our High Priest, it is with reference to both of these previous priesthoods. Like Melchizedek, He is ordained as a priest apart from the Law given on Mount Sinai (Hebrews 5:6). Like the Levitical priests, Jesus offered a sacrifice to satisfy the Law of God when He offered Himself for our sins (Hebrews 7:26-27). Unlike the Levitical priests, who had to continually offer sacrifices, Jesus only had to offer His sacrifice once, gaining eternal redemption for all who come to God through Him (Hebrews 9:12).

One other important point about Jesus’ priesthood—every priest is appointed from among men. Jesus, though God from eternity, became a man in order to suffer death and serve as our High Priest (Hebrews 2:9). As a man, He was subject to all the weaknesses and temptations that we are, so that He could personally relate to us in our struggles (Hebrews 4:15). Jesus is greater than any other priest, so He is called our “Great High Priest” in Hebrews 4:14, and that gives us the boldness to come “unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16 KJV).

A priest must imitate Christ who is the eternal priest

The Persona Christi

The Persona Christi is the man you see every day on the alter celebrating mass; he has the divine authority to do so by the virtue of the sacrament of the Holy Order bestowed upon him. The same sacrifice which was perform on the cross of cavalry 2000 years ago by Jesus Christ himself, is the same as the sacrifice the persona Christi performs on our altar every day. Penny Catechism says; “The Holy Mass is one and the same Sacrifice with that of the cross, inasmuch as Christ, who offered himself, a bleeding victim, on the Cross to his heavenly Father, continues to offer himself in an unbloody manner on the altar, through the ministry of his priest”. This sacrifice is for one purpose: the forgiveness of sins. Saint Paul in his letter to the Hebrews said: “Indeed, according to the law almost everything is purified by blood, and sins are forgiving only if blood is pour out” Hebrew 9:22. Good News

Priest as a Servant

A priest is not a priest for himself. The ordained priest shares in the mission of Jesus as Priest, Prophet, and Shepherd. As priest, he prays and celebrates the Eucharist. As prophet, he preaches and teaches the Gospel of Jesus Christ and also prophesy to the people, and as shepherd, he serves others.

At the Last Supper, Jesus gave the Eucharistic mandate to His apostles, “Do this in memory of Me,” but not before the Lord had knelt down and washed their feet. Jesus said, “What I have done for you, you must do for one another.”

A priest must be a servant to God’s people. He brings the love and strength of Christ into the parish, the school, the hospital room, the prison, the inner city…wherever God’s people are and especially wherever they suffer, the priest is there.

Priest as a Preacher of the Word

Since the beginning of Christianity, people have come to Jesus through the preaching of the Word. Today, this remains a primary ministry of a priest. Because the majority of Catholics encounter the faith and receive their inspiration to practice it from the preaching of their parish priest, men who can articulate their knowledge and excitement about their Faith are a great treasure to the Church. A priest’s duty, then, is to teach his people how Christ’s life is relevant to their own. He answers the question, “How can I live out my faith today?”

“The Church faces a particularly difficult task in her efforts to preach the word of God in all cultures in which the faithful are constantly challenged by consumerism and a pleasure-seeking mentality.” (St. John Paul II)

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