Posted by: fvbcdm | February 20, 2014

Feast of Saint Leo of Catania (20 February 2014)

Recently in our community discussions, we here in this priory considered an article by the late Father Raymond Brown, a scripture scholar, on the biblical concepts of the priesthood. There are three, he points out. The first is the priesthood of Our Divine Lord; then there is the priesthood of the faithful, and finally the ordained priesthood of those of us commonly called priests.

Father Brown believed, and we all agree, that the notion of the priesthood of the faithful has been neglected in recent centuries because of the prominence given to the priesthood of those in Holy Orders.  Now, basically, what is a priest? A priest is one who deals with the things of God and acts as mediator between God and the world. Certainly Christ is the high priest, since he IS both God and man. Certainly we ordained priests qualify as mediators between God and the world for that is the reason why the Church set us aside by the sacrament of Holy Orders to perform the work of preaching and sacramental sanctification.

But, the priesthood of the faithful is not so clear to many people.  Do you think of yourself, whoever you are, as a priest? Do you see your Catholic life as a priestly one? You should.  For that goes with your baptism. By that sacrament, we become members of a priestly people, as Saint Peter calls us. After his resurrection, Our Lord sent his apostles out into the world to preach and “make disciples of all nations.” And each one of us, male or female, ordained, married, single, rich, poor, influential, unnoticed — each of us who have been baptized have the beautiful opportunity and obligation to mediate Christ in the little world in which we live.  In our home, our family, both immediate and extended, our workplace, our school if we are students or teachers, our circle of friends and acquaintances, our social contacts.

Back in the days of the conquistadors, they took possession of the lands that they discovered in the name of their king or queen back in the homeland. And legally that land — the Caribbean islands, South America, North America, became Spanish or Portuguese or English or Dutch or whatever the homeland of the conquistadors happened to be.  Well, in our spiritual lives, we can do much the same thing.  We can go into our own homes, families, workplaces, schools, social groups, and in the quiet of our own minds and hearts, we can intend and plan to make of those areas little parts of the kingdom of Christ.  Not so much by what we say, but rather by what we do, by our attitudes, by our practice of the virtues, by the respect, justice, mercy, and love with which we treat others as we would want them to treat us.

Think often about your priesthood of the faithful, and the opportunities and responsibilities placed upon you by the holy sacraments of baptism and confirmation.  Then, with a clearer concept of your priesthood, do what you can to exercise that priesthood and extend the kingdom of Our Lord Jesus Christ, our divine high priest.  Thank you for seeking God’s truth.  God bless you.  Father Victor Brown, O.P.

Note:  This message was composed some years ago.

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