The priest as
Fr. ROY CIMAGALA,
September 16, 2018
WE have to understand well
the role of a mediator. He is like a bridge that connects two ends.
A perfect mediator is one where he is both in the one end as in the
other. He just cannot be in one end but not in the other, though he
may orient or dispose himself to the other without reaching it.
Christ is a mediator
between God and man. In fact, he is the sole perfect mediator
because he is both God and man. St. Paul testified to this truth of
our faith. He said, “There is one God and one mediator between God
and men, the man Christ Jesus…” (1 Tim 2,5)
Christ is the perfect
mediator because he is not only God but is also man. And he is not
only man, but also God. As the Athanasian Creed would put it, Christ
is “perfect God and perfect man.” He is not half God and half man.
The two natures, divine and human, are together in him inseparably
without diluting each other. He is not a ‘mestizo.’
This truth of our faith
is, of course, a mystery. We cannot fully understand it. But we
believe it because Christ said so and this is what the Church now
teaches. “I and the Father are one,” Christ said at one time,
pointing to his divinity. (Jn 10,30)
As to his humanity, St.
Paul said these relevant words: “When the time had fully come, God
sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those
under the law, that we might receive the full rights of sons.” (Gal
4,4-5) Only a man could be “born under the law.”
This little explanation
about the mediator is important and relevant because we, as human
persons, patterned after Christ, have to learn the ways of a
mediator. Of course, of all men and women, the priests are
especially meant to be mediators, because they are at the forefront
of the task of reconciling men with God.
With the sacrament of Holy
Orders, they are configured to Christ, head of the Church, and
participate in Christ’s task of mediation in a very intimate way.
That is why priests, of all men and women, have to be particularly
adept in this art of mediation.
While they are already
sacramentally configured to Christ as head of the Church, they have
the special, albeit very demanding, duty of truly assuming the mind
and heart of Christ. If everyone is meant to be “another Christ,”
the priests have to be particularly so. They have to lead the way.
This can mean many things.
Their mind and heart should be both on heaven even as they are on
earth. They should exude the fragrance of heaven even as they can
also have the odor of earth, just like what Pope Francis said about
priests as shepherds – they have to have the smell of the sheep
which they tend.
Like Christ, they have to
identify closely both with God and with men. Like Christ, they have
to pray constantly so as to be always in touch with God whose will
and ways they have to follow.
Let’s remember that Christ
said: “I have come down from heaven, not to do my will, but to do
the will of him who sent me.” (Jn 6,38)
Like Christ, priests have
to mix well with the people, adapting themselves to them all the way
to assuming their sins without committing sin. In this regard, St.
Paul said: “God made him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so
that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Cor 5,21)
Just imagine what
practical considerations can be made from this ideal of priests as
mediators like Christ!