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The Sacred priesthood

Jun 23, 2010, 1:26 PM | Article By: Augustine Kanjia

The Catholic priesthood is sacred and handed down to mankind from Jesus Himself. He was set aside to do the will of Him who sent Him. The priesthood therefore started from Christ the high Priest that handed it down to the apostles who in turn made it available to those who believe in the teachings of Christ including the converts.

Christ himself ordered that mankind lives Christ like so as to live in peace.

Panorama seeks to tell you about the Catholic priesthood.

"You are a priest forever, a priest like "Maekizedeck" of old," the Old Testament says. Jesus comes in, in the New Testament but a lot is said in the new testament that has bearing with Christ as He had said that He came to add more meaning to what had happened in the Old Testament. Jesus started His services to mankind when He was quite a young boy. His parents were looking for Him when He was 12 years old when He disappeared from his house into the Synagogue and He was informed that His Father and mother were looking for Him. Jesus replied by saying: "Don't you know I must be about my Father's business? Those who do the will of my Father are my fathers and mothers. This was a solid answer given to them for his priestly ministry since He was set apart for this purpose."                                                                                                                                       

Jesus Christ had two natures; the nature of God and the nature of man. His manly nature was characterised by poverty. Jesus as a priest lived a very poor life and above all He was born in poverty.

He was born in a manger among animals. He was wrapped in a tiny material to protect Him from the cold. He also worked as a carpenter. His carpentry was done manually not as in today's world where they use machines and other equipment to ease pain at work.

Carpentry in those days was not just a child's play but really involved the physical aspect. Man should calculate the whole nature of the poverty aspect in religious circles. He did not have a donkey to move around, Jesus had to beg His apostles to go and take a colt, an unused one that no one had ridden and if anyone asked let them just say to them, "The Master needs it." This was a sign of poverty beyond imagination for a King.  

His manly nature also made Him to obey thus the vow of obedience in the priesthood. He was never defiant. He had obeyed His Father's will to the end. He obeyed His Father even unto death. "Father if it is thy will let this cup pass away," Jesus said on the Cross. His obedience surpasses any man. He was a King but He was treated like a bandit and was crucified with other bandits. Someone challenged him on the cross and said "If you are the Son of God then free yourself from the Cross. The other one said, "Jesus remember me in your Father's Kingdom." Jesus granted it to the latter. He was just, obedient and humble.

Jesus remained Chaste. He did not marry but devoted His 33 years of existence to the will of Him who sent Him. Chastity put straight to the apostles of His time. He said: "There are some who were made eunuch by nature and there were those eunuchs who decide to make themselves eunuchs for the sake of the Kingdom of God. If any one is able to do it, he will get the reward, a 100 fold. Man has not made mistake then by following Christ who had called His apostles by name and said to them, "Leave your wife, your children and your net I will make you fishers of men." Many of the apostles were married people and some would only obey their saviour leaving behind their families for the love of God. It was possible with them and all those who followed did not deviate. And they were put in charge of the affairs of the Church to date. They were consecrated or set apart to live like Christ.

Let us now see why it was necessary for man to take up the priesthood in the footsteps of Christ. Firstly, Christ had challenged mankind to either take up the challenge or leave it. From what is seen, we now know that to become a priest is a vocation, which means a call. One can answer positively to the call or negatively.

The Church then set aside three vows to rule the life of a priest in line with Christ's life, in case one would say why take up the priesthood when you are only a man or woman. The three vows could be taken from what Christ went through. Firstly, the vow of Poverty the vow of Chastity and the vow of Obedience.

Today’s vows are no different from those of Christ’s time. Christ’s vows were perfectly kept because of His double nature; the nature of God and the nature of man. Man has weaknesses thus the need for continuous reconciliation, be it a priest, sister, brother or lay person. Indeed the priesthood is God given we should not attack a priest, we should not underestimate their power in line with their spiritual powers given to them at their ordination. It is God given power that all should guard jealously. It is only the Catholic priesthood that or religious life that takes up the vows of poverty, chastity or obedience. It is a source of inspiration to many for being Catholics. "Without their commitment to the propagation of faith, I would not have been a Catholic. I would therefore continue supporting my priests and believing in them to save my life," Elizabeth Bahoum said.