December 6th

Once the altar has been prepared, the priest invites us all to pray that our sacrifice may be acceptable to God.  We all respond by praying that God will accept the sacrifice “at the hands” of the priest.

At his ordination, the priest’s hands were anointed with sacred chrism.  By the anointing of the priest’s hands they were consecrated for the very purpose of offering sacrifice to God.

By virtue of their baptism, all Christians share in the priesthood of Jesus Christ.  Each one of us is called to offer ourselves as a sacrifice to the Father, returning to Him all that He has given to us.  It is because we share in Christ’s priesthood that we can offer ourselves to God.

The ordained priest did not begin to be a priest on the day of his ordination: he shared in Christ’s priestly office from the time he was baptized.  At ordination, he was consecrated and conformed to Christ in a special way.  Sacred ordination imprints a mark on the soul of the priest that can never be erased, hence the line of Psalm 110 can be applied to him: “You are a priest forever.”

The ministerial priesthood differs from the common priesthood of all baptized in kind not in degree. (cf. Lumen Gentium # 10) It is not that the ordained priest shares in Christ’s priesthood more than others; he shares in Christ’s priesthood in a different way.

By virtue of his ordination, the priest is conformed to Christ and transformed in such a way that he completely gives himself over to Christ so that Christ can act through him.  It is Christ Who acts through the priest when the priest offers Sacraments; so much so that during confession the priest does not say: “Jesus absolves you” when he gives absolution, he says: “I absolve you.”  At the consecration at Mass, the priest does not say: “This is Jesus’ body”, he says: “This is my body.”  It is Jesus Who is absolving and Jesus Who is changing the bread and wine into His own body and blood, and he does so through the priest.

God bless,

Father White

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