MANILA, April 7, 2015—“The goal of the priest to follow Christ sets him apart from other men.”
Fr. Abe P. Arganiosa, a Filipino Catholic priest based in the United States, noted that through their sacred ministry, members of the clergy “truly share in the very life of the Lord,” who is Himself both Priest and Victim.
“By His being a Victim the Lord Jesus gave us salvation, and by this same sacrifice He vanquished Satan. Our priests being in total union with Christ are also doing the same by the sacrifice of their lives, and by their Eucharistic offering are bringing about the triumph of the Gospel and the downfall of the Devil,” he explained.
While they are “unique” given the grace they have received and the task they must carry out, Arganiosa pointed out priests are far from perfect and have their share of human frailty like all people.
Quoting St. Paul, he reminded the faithful that clerics hold this grace, this treasure, in earthen vessels, that “the surpassing power may be of God and not from us” [2 Cor 4:7 NABRe].
Arganiosa said priests are “created out of clay” [cf. Gen 2:7] like all others humans, with the difference that God uses their mortal bodies as channels of His incomparable blessings, causing even angels to envy them.
“Through the consecrated hands of our priests, heaven opens every day to give us the Body and Blood of the Lord giving us a pure sacrifice that sanctifies the sinful world from the rising of the sun to its setting [cf. Mal 1:11],” he added.
He stressed the Lord especially chose priests for the edification of His Body the Church [cf. Canon Law 275] as “dispensers of the mysteries of God,” [cf. Canon Law 276].
A Catholic apologist, Arganiosa blasted critics who assert that the priesthood was invented only during the Middle Ages, attributing its existence to merely human, not Divine, origin.
“That is very far from reality. It was established by the Father from the Old Covenant, perfected by Christ in the New, and is guided by the Holy Spirit throughout the ages. Thus, we proclaim the divine origin of the priesthood,” he said.
According to him, the Father established Priesthood as an Office (Ex 29: 9/ Lev 16: 32) and was acquired through Consecration by Anointing (Ex 29: 7/ Lev 8: 12/ 16: 32). (Raymond A. Sebastián/CBCPNews)