If you had to summarize the essential core of the Christian life, what would it be? Mercy, truth, or love, perhaps? The readings today suggest another word which may surprise you. That word is priesthood.
St. Peter says to us, “You are a ‘chosen race, a royal priesthood…’” To be part of a priesthood is to offer a particular sacrifice in order for the community to survive and thrive. Jesus is the great high priest because he offers the one perfect sacrifice which heals and perfects the entire human race. Peter the Apostle wants us to know that all the baptized share in this priestly ministry. The whole of our lives, including every detail, is meant to become our acceptable offering to God.
The baptized exercise this priesthood in many ways, I’ll mention three. At Sunday Mass, in private prayer, and in daily work. At Mass, we offer the sacrifice of our lives with that of the priest, who symbolizes Christ the Priest. In our prayer, a “morning offering” prayer is a great way to offer up all the joys and sufferings of the day to come. In our daily work, we sacrifice our time, comfort, money, and energy to do good for others. All this gives the deepest possible meaning to our lives: we share in the priesthood which saves the world. That’s at the core of our faith.
— Father John Muir