This past Tuesday evening we completed a three part faith formation video series on the Lord Jesus as Priest, Prophet and King. I am grateful to those who participated and for the great conversations that we had at each session. In the series, Bishop Robert Barron explained what these three ministries, what we call the triple munera, meant for Jesus and what they mean for us by virtue of our baptism since we are given a share in them by virtue of this great sacrament.
Our Lord Jesus came to sanctify the world anew, to show us the way to offer right praise to God. By virtue of our baptism, we are called to share in the priestly ministry of Christ by striving for holiness each and every day, by striving to offer God right praise in every aspect of our lives. As a priestly people, we are called to make the world holy by our presence and action in it. The second munera, the prophetic ministry of our baptism, calls us to witness to Christ by calling people back to relationship with God. This was the role of the Prophets in the Scriptures, fulfilled in the Lord Jesus, to call Israel from its sinfulness back to its covenant relationship with the Lord. In a world of false or misguided priorities, this ministry can be very challenging as many people are disinclined to break habits and mind-sets that are contrary to God’s will; sinful as these things may be, people can find a false comfort in them and are not quick to give these things up.
The third ministry of Christ that we share in by virtue of our baptism is that of kingship. What this means for us in the life of the Church is that we are called to maintain proper order. As individuals, we are called to maintain proper order in our lives by fully participating in the life of grace and seeing that sin does not enter in; we must do this because we are a part of the mystical body of Christ and if we are diminished by sin then so also is the whole mystical body. If we find sin in our lives, it must be cut out or pushed back. This is a serious mistake that people make at times, thinking that there can be some co-existence with sin and evil. It isn’t possible. This was the mistake made by many of the kings of Israel. Some blatantly cooperated with evil but others tragically compromised with it in various ways. Though sometimes well intentioned, any attempt to compromise or coexist with evil leads to bad kingship.
While all of the faithful are given a share in these three-fold ministries, those men who are in Sacred Orders by virtue of ordination have a unique responsibility in fulfilling these offices in the Church through teaching, governing, and sanctifying. Among them, the bishops of the Church have the greatest responsibility. They are the successors of the Apostles and it is through them that priests and deacons are ordained and ordered to assist them in these three sacred functions. This week the bishops of the United States will be holding their annual fall meeting in Baltimore and they have asked for our prayers. It is no secret that there has been poor exercise of the Kingly charism by some in governance and the bishops will be meeting to address these issues along with other pressing and difficult questions for the good of the faithful of this nation and the Church at large.
It is an unenviable task that the bishops have, to be responsible for every soul in their own particular diocese and to also share in responsibility for the greater Church. They need our prayers. The vast majority of the bishops are good and holy men who need the grace of God as much as we do and some perhaps even more. Let us pray for them, especially for our own bishop, Thomas John, that God will grant them zeal, courage, and fortitude in safeguarding the good of the faithful, especially the most vulnerable, as we all strive to answer the Lord’s call in our lives and journey towards his Kingdom.
Father Christopher House is the Rector of the Cathedral and serves in various leadership roles within the diocesan curia, namely Chancellor and Vicar Judicial.