The Offices of Christ is Ours (Vol.1, No.10)

An office is generally a room or other area, where administrative work is done. It may also denote a position within an organization with specific duties attached to it. In the Christian doctrine, it is believed that Christ possessed three offices during his earthly ministry with specific duties attached to them. That is to say that He is the one whom the Father anointed with the Holy Spirit and established as Priest, Prophet and King.

Nevertheless, the Church teaches that since Christ as the head was anointed Priest, Prophet and King, every member of the body (ie the Church) upon which this anointing flows has these three offices and carries their responsibilities. Meanwhile, Pope John Paul II in his Redemptoris Hominis (nos.18-21) affirmed that the whole people of God participates in these three offices of Christ and bears the responsibility for mission and service that flow from them. According to St. Cyprian, every Christian is another Christ (Christiantus altar Christus). The above thoughts therefore perfectly capture our understanding of the effects of the Sacrament of Baptism.

Through Baptism, we are reborn in Christ, becoming Children of God, we are bound to Christ, Conformed to Him and incorporated into His life. Hence we share in His priestly, Prophetic and kingly office. This therefore expresses the clarification that the baptism of Jesus at the River Jordan and His Pascal Mystery are the source events of Christian Baptism.

Further evidence could be deduced from the words used at the baptism of a child, while anointing him or her with chrism, the minister reads; “God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ… now anoints you with the chrism of salvation. As Christ was anointed Priest, Prophet and King, so may you live as a member of his body”. Having established that we have been initiated in these offices of Christ, it is worthy of note that our initiation is not devoid of the specific duties attached to them (ie the offices)

In fulfilment of our priestly office, we are called to offer service in the name of God and for the salvation of others, to participate in the Eucharist and receive other Sacraments. As prophets, we are called to witness to our faith in our daily lives and to stand by the truth. This office is far from the common perception of predicting the future. In our royal office, we should not forget that humility is a key ingredient in Jesus model of royalty. For the Christian, to reign is to serve Christ particularly when serving the poor and the suffering in whom the Church recognized the image of her poor and suffering founder. In addition, this office enables us through the power of God’s grace to overcome sin, move beyond selfishness and establish the kingdom of God within us and others.

Caution: As we exercise these Christian responsibilities; we should not like Martin Luther, who in his second great treatise of 1520 propose the common priesthood of all believers and declared no difference between the clergy and the laity. Against this erroneous doctrine, Msgr. Oswald Richard would say that the priest is another Christ in an essentially different way. This is predicated on the fact that in the celebration of the Eucharist, Christ through the ordained priest, gathers the Church to offer himself and his body, the Church, in sacrifice to the Father and gives Himself to us in Holy Communion. St. Augustine understood the relationship well and said to the faithful in Carthage, “I am bishop for you, I am Christian with you”. Indication therefore emerge that through baptism, all of us are called to holiness, as those who share in the three offices of Christ, and through ordained priests, Christ sanctifies his Church.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.