The Eucharist (continued)
The Church founded by Christ is by its very nature a sacramental Church. The sacramental system has its foundation in the Incarnation, in which the Eternal Word of God took flesh. This mingling of the divine and the human, of the supernatural and natural orders, is prolonged in the sacraments. Natural realities (bread and wine, water, oil, words, gestures of touch) are used to communicate realities entirely beyond the power of nature: the gifts of grace.
Jesus Himself continues this saving work in a public way through the ministry of priests. The specific functions or roles of those in Holy Orders are secondary to a new identity in Jesus and sacramental conformity to the Person of Jesus, the one true Priest. While the whole People of God is made sharers in the mission of Jesus as Priest, Prophet, and King, those receiving the sacrament of Orders are dedicated to the public ministry of Christ in the Church. They are given a share in Christ’s priesthood that differs not only in degree, but in kind, from the common priesthood of all the faithful. This difference is a call to a specific identity with Christ, who came not to be served, but to serve (Mark 10:45). While the humanity of each priest remains – sometimes quite obviously – the priest through ordination becomes a coworker with Jesus in the work of God’s grace, despite his human imperfections.
The sacrament of Orders has three degrees: bishops, priests and deacons. Bishops and priests as their assistants are especially empowered, in the Name of Christ, to forgive sins, to heal the sick, and to make present the sacrifice of Christ sacramentally in the Eucharist. As mentioned, this sacramental power was given in His command to the Apostles at the Last Supper: “Do this in memory of Me.” This “doing” is not their own; it is Christ, conforming them to himself, working in them. As he reminds the apostles: “It was not you who chose Me, it was I Who chose you to go forth and bear fruit” (John 15:16).
The Eucharist is absolutely central to the life of the Church. Since only a priest has the power from Christ the High Priest (Hebrews 7:17-28) to make Jesus sacramentally present in the Eucharistic species, the sacramental priesthood is essential to the life of the Catholic Church. Like all other aspects of the Church’s life, Holy Orders too exists for the sake of the Eucharist and always at the service of the people, the whole Body of Christ.
Pictorial Directory Thanks to those who have already had their pictures taken for our combined pictorial directory. St. John Paul II called the parish a “family of families,” and becoming One in Christ means the family has greatly grown. The essential goal of the directory is to get to know those who share our common life and hope in God, putting names to faces and be more aware in welcoming one another in our communities. Many times remain for you to share in this work of hospitality and grow our friendship in Jesus.
November 1 is the great Solemnity of All Saints. Mass times for this day of obligation are on the front page. From every time and place reached by the Gospel, in all vocations and circumstances of life, in all the joys and sorrows of history, the saints have been inspired and sustained by the same gifts of sacrament, Scripture, faith in community, and the gifts of the Holy Spirit. We are called to be in that number, for “they are not to be made perfect without us” (Hebrews 11:40).