St. Francis de Sales, bishop and Doctor of the Church
Hebrews 7:25—8:6 + Psalm 40 + Mark 3:7-12
January 24, 2013
“Now every high priest is appointed to offer gifts and sacrifices; thus the necessity for this one also to have something to offer.” [Hebrews 8:3]
The Epistle to the Hebrews proclaims a profound theology of the priesthood. While the epistle is wrongly used by some to teach against the ordained priesthood of the Catholic Church, you’ll often find those same persons teaching clearly that every Christian is part of a “priestly people”.
So among these three forms of the priesthood—the priesthood of Jesus Christ, the priesthood of those men who receive Holy Orders, and the priesthood of every baptized person—is there any opposition? If one is stressed, must another be suppressed? Or are all three related?
The latter two—ordained priesthood and the priesthood of the baptized—are both lived out within the priesthood of Christ, in the on-going life of the Mystical Body of Christ. It’s not that Christian priests—whether through ordination or baptism—are imitating or repeating in their actions what Jesus did on Calvary. It’s rather that Christ lives today, through them. He does so through the sacramental grace given them in Baptism and Holy Orders. The priesthood of Christ is the complete gifts of self to God and others. Baptism and Holy Orders find their meaning in such sacrifice.