As we end the Year of the Priest, I was reading an article about a talk given by H. Richard McCord, who is the executive director of the Bishop's Committee on Laity, Marriage, and Family Life. His talk attempts to mesh the priesthood of all believers, which is ours at Baptism, and the Sacramental Priesthood.
McCord makes mention of the fact that the Sacramental Priest is set apart both through ordination, and specifically by lifestyle. McCord reiterates the importance that the Priest is taken from the people of God, so as to serve the people as the shepherd and priest. The community of faith works together to make present the Kingdom of God. McCord reflects that the Second Vatican Council, "Intended to highlight the significance and indeed the necessity of a truly mutual ecclesial relationship between priests and laity; all of which brings us to where we are today.
Mr. McCord borrows from Lumen Gentium as he describes the fact that, "Though they differ essentially and not only in degree, the common priesthood of the faithful and the ministerial or hierarchical priesthood are nonetheless interrelated; each in its own way shares in the one priesthood of Christ. McCord points out that we all know of mothers and fathers who hold their families together. Parishes are composed of many faithful people who pass on the faith tradition, but also live out that same faith, through the corporal and spiritual works of mercy.
More and more I look at the Beatitudes as a springboard for Christian living. We are nurtured and nourished by he Word of God, and the Bread of Life, and are invited to "Love and Serve the Lord. It is not rainbows and lollipops. I think that we can all admit that striving to fully live a Christian life can be a challenge. That is the cross thing again.
Members of the priesthood of the faithful, and the ministerial priesthood all participate in the works of the High Priest, Jesus Christ. McCord makes mention that both carry our three principle works. As members of the priesthood of Christ we are all to Teach, Sanctify, and Govern. Laypersons do these things by the "unfolding of baptismal grace," and the ordained through the sacramental powers of Holy Orders, in which they act "in the person of Jesus Christ."
McCord concludes his talk stating that it is the vocation of the laity to express this threefold ministry in their daily lives. We as a Church are necessarily a body of faithful witnesses who participates in the Body of Christ by being a priest, prophet, and king. Sometimes in parishes we get wrapped up in matters such as the placement of a table or what songs to sing at mass. Instead we should be evangelizers who strive to bring about unity, healing, and peace, where we live. We are a light to all of the nations.