Tuesday, 22 February 2011

What is Christ's vocation?

We receive the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano at Oscott for the student Common Room, and this last week, perusing the paper over our much-coveted coffee break between moning lectures, I saw something else the Pope said that is worth mentioning. He said this to the seminary community of the Pontifical Ethiopian College:

'Christ, the eternal Priest of the New Covenant, who with his special vocation to the priestly ministry has "conquered" our life, does not suppress the characteristic qualities of the person; on the contrary, he uplifts them, he ennobles them and, making them his own, calls them to serve his mystery and his work.'

Pope Benedict is constantly emphasising that to follow Christ is not a negation of our freedom or our humanity, but the fulfilment of both. Christ makes us more human, more free. By losing our life, we gain it. By giving much, we receive much. What is interesting as well is the mention of Christ's vocation, to "the priestly ministry." This is something that is taken up in the Letter to the Hebrews, where as a result of his Passion Christ is appointed High Priest by his Father:

'Although he was a Son, he learned obedience through what he suffered; and being made perfect he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him, being designated by God a high priest after the order of Melchizedek." (Heb 5: 8-10)   

Because he was God and man, sharing our condition, he is the perfect mediator between us and God. Every priest today shares in the mediation, the vocation of Jesus, bringing different characteristics and personalities to the great task of reconciling all humanity to the Father, with the grace of the Holy Spirit.

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