A Scriptural Guide to the Priesthood teaches us how Christ fulfills his promise to give us “the living bread which comes down from heaven…the bread of life.” (Jn. 6) How does Christ walk the earth today anointing and healing (Mark 6:13, Jas. 5:13-15), forgiving sins (John 20:21-23), proclaiming the Gospel, and fishing for the souls of men? The holy priesthood is the way Christ continues the ministry he began on earth, operating mystically through his apostles and their successors, the bishops (1Tim. 3) and priests (Rom. 15:15) of his Church (Mt. 16:18). The priest is understood to act in persona Christi. These are the Latin words which mean, “in the person of Christ.” This is the best short description of what a priest is and does; for Christ acts through the priest for our salvation.
Here is the mystery of the priesthood: visibly we see the imperfect human priest, but invisibly it is Christ the High Priest who works through his hands when he administers the sacraments which bring healing, forgiveness, grace, and the bread of life!
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