It’s Day 122!!
Today we start PARAGRAPH 4: CHRIST’S FAITHFUL-HIERARCHY, LAITY, CONSECRATED LIFE
What makes up the Body of Christ?
There is a STRUCTURE there and there are certain ROLES within the Church
We will also look at THE HIERARCHICAL CONSTITUTION OF THE CHURCH
WHY THE ECCLESIAL MINISTRY?
Ecclesial means CHURCH
Why is there ministry in the Church?
HIERARCHY means sacred structure that comes from the Lord God Himself
Jesus essentially sets up a structure when he calls the 12 to Himself
In the Old Testament there is a very clear structure when it comes to the hierarchy of the leaders of the Jewish People
We say RULERS and LEADERS and that is true
We have to understand what is the character of these rulers and leaders
The first character is SERVICE
For all Christians, but particularly those in ecclesial ministry
Jesus became a slave for ALL
So all those who lead in the Church do that as a SERVANT and as a SLAVE in imitation of Christ
The second is COLLEGIAL CHARACTER
This refers to the bishops who do not operate ON THEIR OWN
They operate IN UNION WITH EACH OTHER and IN UNION WITH THE POPE
Same thing with priests
Priests do not act on their own
There is a collegiality among the PRESBYTERATE (priesthood) united to the EPISCOPATE (the bishops)
The third is PERSONAL CHARACTER
When God calls, He doesn’t call HEY Y’ALL!!
HE CALLS YOU!!
YOU come follow me
There is a personal character to Christ’s call
That is the reality when it comes to the call of all the Christian faithful, those in the hierarchy, and those consecrated people
Let’s turn to our Lord today!!
So there we have it!!
IT IS BEAUTIFUL!!
Paragraph 871 says, “‘The Christian faithful are those who, inasmuch as they have been incorporated in Christ through Baptism, have been constituted as the people of God; for this reason, since they have become sharers in Christ’s priestly, prophetic, and royal office in their own manner, they are called to exercise the mission which God has entrusted to the Church to fulfill in the world, in accord with the condition proper to each one.’”
When we are incorporated into the Body of Christ we are ANOINTED in a unique way as little Christs
That is the IDENTITY of a Christian
Because of that, every Christian is going to be called to EXERCISE THAT MISSION
THAT IS INCREDIBLE!!
Paragraph 872 says, “‘In virtue of their rebirth in Christ there exists among all Christian faithful a true equality with regard to dignity and the activity whereby all cooperate in the building up of the Body of Christ in accord with each one’s own condition and function.’”
St. Paul says, “In Christ there is no Jew, no Greek, no slave, no free, no male, no female…”
ALL ARE ONE IN CHRIST!!
This is EQUALITY IN DIGNITY
It’s not the same thing as equality in roles
There are still different roles
For example fathers and mothers in a family are equal in DIGNITY
They do not have the same ROLE
They may do SOME of the same things
In some ways only a father can father
Only a mother can mother
They both can cook supper
They both can take care of sick kids
There is a way in which the CHARACTER of this is accomplished in a DIFFERENT WAY
Hopefully that analogy made sense
Paragraph 873 says, “The very differences which the Lord has willed to put between the members of his body serve its unity and mission.”
There is a DIVERSITY of ministries but a UNITY of mission
THAT IS SO INCREDIBLE!!
Paragraph 873 continues, “‘To the apostles and their successors Christ has entrusted the office of teaching, sanctifying, and governing in his name and by his power. But the laity are made to share in the priestly, prophetical, and kingly office of Chist; they have therefore, in the Church and in the world, their own assignment in the mission of the whole People of God.’”
There is a hierarchy
There is a structure to the bishops and priests
There is a unique role
ALL the Christian faithful SHARE in the priestly, prophetic, and kingly office and they have THEIR OWN ROLE in the Church and in the world
These are not LESSER roles
They are not GREATER roles
They are DIFFERENT roles
This already existed in the Early Church
St. Paul says, “The eye cannot say to the foot or the ear, I don’t need you.”
WE ALL NEED EACH OTHER!!
The whole body is constituted in such a way that we all need each other
WHY THE ECCLESIAL MINISTRY?
Paragraph 874 says, “In order to shepherd the People of God and to increase its numbers without cease, Christ the Lord set up in his Church a variety of offices which aim at the good of the whole body.”
Why does the hierarchy exist?
TO SERVE THE WHOLE BODY!!
TO CONTINUE THE MISSION OF JESUS CHRIST!!
Paragraph 875 says, “‘How are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without a preacher? And how can men preach unless they are sent?’ No one-no individual and no community-can proclaim the Gospel to himself: ‘Faith comes from what is heard.’ No one can give himself the mandate and the mission to proclaim the Gospel…No one can bestow grace upon himself; it must be given and offered. This fact presupposes ministers of grace, authorized and empowered by Christ. From him, bishops and priests receive that mission and faculty (‘the sacred power’) to act in persona Christi Capitis…”
WE HAVE TO BE SENT AS EMISSARIES OF JESUS!!
IT IS SO REMARKABLE!!
Paragraph 875 continues, “The ministry in which Christ’s emissaries do and give by God’s grace and what they cannot do and give by their own powers, is called a ‘sacrament’ by the Church’s tradition.”
THAT IS SO REMARKABLE!!
THAT IS INCREDIBLE!!
Paragraph 878 says, “Finally, it belongs to the sacramental nature of ecclesial ministry that it have a personal character.”
“I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…”
“This is MY body…”
“This is MY blood…”
“I absolve you…”
Because of God’s grace through the Sacrament of Holy Orders, when Fr. Mike says that, he is not speaking as Mike Schmitz
He is speaking IN THE PERSON OF JESUS CHRIST
IN PERSONA CHRISTI CAPITIS
IN THE PERSON OF CHRIST THE HEAD
That is the PERSONAL CHARACTER where Jesus does something that Fr. Mike could not do ON HIS OWN
THAT IS SO HUMBLING!!
IT IS SO REMARKABLE!!
Priests and bishops operate the same way
What they give to you is something they could not give on their own no matter how good, wise, loving, or caring that they are
Because of the Sacrament of Holy Orders!!
They have received what they could not merit and did not give to themselves
God, through the Church, has given it to them
They are able to offer, through God’s Power, what they can not offer on their own power
The DEEPEST nature of this ecclesial ministry is its character as SERVICE
Jesus said, “I did not come to be served, but to serve.”
He gave His life as a ransom for many
So all those bishops and priests who lead MUST LEAD AS SERVANTS
They lead TOGETHER
That is the COLLEGIAL CHARACTER
NO ONE ACTS ON THEIR OWN!!
They all act in communion with each other
This preserves UNITY
This preserves THE FAITH
There is also that PERSONAL CHARACTER
Jesus calls each individual one by one
So any of those people listening to this who are maybe even discerning a call to the religious life, to the priesthood, to the diaconate
Fr. Mike invites you to KEEP PRAYING ON THAT
The Lord calls all of us to belong to Him and serve Him as Christians
God also calls some men to be priests and deacons (You know who you are out there 😁)
He also calls some women and men to be consecrated religious
SO KEEP THAT IN MIND!!
Paragraph 879 says, “Sacramental ministry in the Church, then, is a service exercised in the name of Christ. It has a personal character and a collegial form. This is evidenced by the bonds between the episcopal college and its head, the successor of St. Peter, and in the relationship between the bishop’s pastoral responsibility for his particular church and the common solicitude of the episcopal college for the universal church.”
So your local bishop is responsible for his diocese
At the same time…
The whole episcopal college together are very conscientious of the need for the whole world to be sanctified
For the whole world to be made holy
For the whole world to come to know the great love of God through Jesus Christ
That’s why we have the Catechism
The bishops got together with the Holy Father
There is this sense of the Church needing an updated teaching
The people have changed
The teaching has not
The teaching has to be presented in a new way
And that is why we are here
There have been leaders in the Church who have served
In serving, they have called us to learn more and grow deeper in knowledge of the Lord God and His Church on earth
That is what we are doing right now!!
So good job!!
Fr. Mike is praying FOR YOU!!
Please pray for Fr. Mike and for each other!!
I cannot WAIT to see you tomorrow!!