Institutional priesthood was God's idea! In the Old Testament, God commanded that “the priest's office shall be theirs by perpetual statue” (Ex 29:9). “Perpetual” does not mean “until Jesus comes,” but forever. Obviously, God desires there be an institutional priesthood, now, in His New Testament church.
Jesus, our true and eternal High Priest, ordained the twelve apostles as bishops. With apostolic authority, they, in turn, ordained others as deacons, priests, and bishops, maintaining the Old Testament hierarchical structure and establishing the apostolic authority that continues today in Catholic and Orthodox Churches. For this reason, the “office” of apostolic priesthood was filled by Matthias when vacated by Judas (Acts 1:20). This was done before the arrival of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. The Holy Spirit fell on all the apostles, including Matthias, demonstrating that God approved of and accepted Matthias, and ordination as the apostles' process of passing on their authority.
Priests continue to be ordained through the Sacrament of Holy Orders throughout the New Testament to today. Jesus is the High Priest at the center of the pastors of church history pictured in Revelation 1. Jesus teaches, “watches” over, and guides His Church through salvation history through the priesthood He established and chooses.
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LOVE the Word® is a Bible study method based on Mary's own practice: lectio without the Latin. Get the book based on Sonja's method in the right margin, How to Pray Like Mary.
L – Listen (Receive the Word.)
O – Observe (Connect the passage to your life and recent events.)
What is your most comforting memory or recollection of the priests you've known? What is your worst? Perhaps you'd like to contact your favorite priest and let him know how much you appreciate and love him, and why. Maybe you could offer him a spiritual bouquet, or join a prayer group dedicated to praying for priests.
V – Verbalize (Pray about your thoughts and emotions.)
Good or bad, what do you want to tell the Lord about the priests you've known, or the priest you have?
Remembering that He loves you and that you are in His presence, talk to God about the particulars of your O – Observe step. You may want to write your reflections in your LOVE the Word® journal. Or, get a free journal page and guide in the right-hand margin.
E – Entrust (May it be done to me according to your word!)
Gracious and loving God, we thank your for the gift of our priests. Through them, we experience your presence in the sacraments. Help our priests to be strong in their vocation. Set their souls on fire with love for your people. Grant them the wisdom, understanding, and strength they need to follow in the footsteps of Jesus. Inspire them with the vision of your Kingdom. Give them the words they need to spread the Gospel. Allow them to experience joy in their ministry. Help them to become instruments of your divine grace. We ask this through Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns as our Eternal Priest. Amen +
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