Central Idea: God makes each one of us very important. Doctrine: The ministerial and general priesthood of Christ in the Church. Practical Application: Living the royal priesthood of Christ as a layperson.
For Lectionary 141, click here.
Central Idea: God makes each one of us very important
- Because God loves the persons he creates, he gives them real power so that what they do really matters for good or ill. He won’t take that power away from them even through they misuse it. The Prophet Habakkuk cannot understand why God allows him and the Chosen People to experience violence, ruin, and misery. Yet the evil exercise of power has natural consequences: “The rash one has no integrity” and will die. And in a similar way, “the just one, because of his faith, shall live.” Hb 1:2-3; 2:2-4
- The words St. Paul wrote to Timothy, whom Paul had made a bishop, apply also to us, because the laity share in the priesthood of all the faithful. This is part of the importance that God gives to each Christian. Through the waters of Baptism and the imposition of hands in Confirmation, we too have been given a spirit, not “of cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control” so that we can bear our “share of hardship for the gospel with the strength that comes from God.” Like Timothy, our norm, too is “the sound words” that we hear from the Sacred Scriptures, Sacred Tradition, and the Magisterium of the Church. That “rich trust” is the Deposit of Faith. 2 Tm 1:6-8, 13-14
- With an operative faith, that is, a faith we act on with the help of grace, we will accomplish things that seem amazing to us, even impossible. Our work is to contribute to the goal of “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth.” Despite the importance of our work, we have no grounds for getting puffed up with pride for anything we accomplish in Christ. When we do whatever we ought, we are just doing our duty. Even when we freely give whatever we have out of love, we are still just doing our duty as followers of Christ. Lk 17:5-10
Doctrine: Two participations in the one priesthood of Christ
- Catholics know there is a ministerial priesthood, consisting of bishops, priests, and deacons, through which Christ “unceasingly builds up and leads his Church” and which is “transmitted by its own sacrament, the sacrament of Holy Orders” (CCC 1547). Some Catholics may not know there is also a common priesthood of all the faithful that the ministerial priesthood serves (CCC 1547), making every member of the Church a priest through the sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation (CCC 1546).
- “The faithful exercise their baptismal priesthood through their participation, each according to his own vocation, in Christ’s mission as priest, prophet, and king” (CCC 1546). The laity exercise the common priesthood of the faithful by offering up their lives and work, by living and proclaiming the truth, and by carrying out all the requirements of justice. (CCC 898-913)
- The common priesthood is exercised “by the unfolding of baptismal grace—a life of faith, hope, and charity, a life according to the Spirit”; the ministerial priesthood serves the common priesthood by directing that “unfolding of the baptismal grace of all Christians” (CCC 1547). We are priests, prophets, and kings! See the great importance God gives us.
Practical Application: Living the royal priesthood of Christ as a lay person
- The laity live the priesthood of Christ by offering all the circumstances and events of our life to God with the intention that they conform to the will of God.
- “For all their works, prayers, and apostolic undertakings, family and married life, daily work, relaxation of mind and body, if they are accomplished in the Spirit—indeed even the hardships of life if patiently born—all these become spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. In the celebration of the Eucharist these may most fittingly be offered to the Father along with the body of the Lord.” (CCC 901)
- The laity live the prophetic role of Christ by evangelization, both by “the proclamation of Christ by word and the testimony of life” (CCC 905).
- Our good example of doing the right thing is a proclamation in itself. But it must be accompanied by words. We speak of God to those around us.
- The laity live the royal role of Christ through self-mastery and helping conform society to the demands of the Gospel through justice. (CCC 908 ff.)
- In our kingship, our first subject must be ourselves. Then as good kings and queens we fulfill all or responsibilities.