The Priest is a Man of Faith

Friday, February 01, 2013

What is a priest?

He is chosen from among men, it is true, but he is also chosen - not by himself, not by men - but by God. God is the one who chooses him - Sacred Scripture, in one of the letters of St. Paul, tells us this (Heb 5:1). God is the one who chooses His priests. And He chooses them so as to make them His ambassadors, ambassadors of God to men, ambassadors of men to God. The term that comes to us from Sacred Scripture is “mediator”. Mediator between men and God (cf. Heb 9:15).

One and the Same Victim: Jesus Christ

O priest, where will you find this knowledge, where will you recognize what you are? Well, chiefly in the Mass: if Our Lord wants you to be a priest, it is first and foremost for the Sacrifice. In order to renew, to perpetuate the Sacrifice of Calvary. He chooses you so as to make really present - in other words to re-present - His Sacrifice. But the word “represent” is perhaps not yet strong enough. Because the sacrifice is not just an image, is not just a memorial. It is certainly a memorial, but it is not just that, it is much more, because every time you open your mouth and carry out this office of instrument, every time you say “This is My Body,” it is Our Lord Himself who will take these words from you by force and make them His own. He is there to pronounce them. He is there to transmit this power, which is so enormous that it will “realize”, that it will make real, what these words say. And then, this host that you are holding in your hands, this bit of bread, once the words are said, is Jesus, the Word of God. God Almighty, the Creator, Savior and Redeemer, in your hands, by your mouth: God who stoops, who obeys His priest.

The sacraments are like an extension of the Mass, but the Mass is really where you find what you are. You are no longer for yourself. You are for God and for souls. You are for the Church, but above all you are for Jesus. This is your all. And He calls you to a sacrifice. The Mass is a sacrifice. Maybe we do not say it enough. Today they tell us over and over again that the Mass is the gathering of the people of God, of the community which commemorates the Last Supper - and that is a heretical definition. Then the priest becomes the presider at this gathering. The Mass is a meal, a celebration.... To say in this way that the Mass is a meal is condemned by the Church. Condemned! You see how many errors have spread concerning this reality. No, the Mass is a sacrifice. It is the Sacrifice of Our Lord on Calvary. A sacrifice identical to that Sacrifice. And you are associated with it. Your life now finds its meaning and has no other meaning than in the Mass, in this Sacrifice.

We are living in an age in which this faith is abused, attacked, slashed, everywhere, outside the Church and inside as well. It will be one of your duties, after the Mass, to impart this faith, to communicate it to souls, so as to lift them above human realities and to lead them toward the reality of God. And this faith will also have to be defended.


Source: From a Sermon by Bishop Bernard Fellay


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