Living Your Baptismal Mission as Priest, Prophet, and King
Did you know that you are a Priest, a Prophet, and a King?
“Jesus Christ is the one whom the Father anointed with the Holy Spirit and established as priest, prophet, and king. The whole People of God participates in these three offices of Christ and bears the responsibilities for mission and service that flow from them.” CCC 783
When Christ redeemed us in baptism, he left an indelible imprint on our souls. This mark changes us. Gives us dignity. Makes us a child of God.
It also gives us a stake in his mission. A mission with three characters. That of priest, prophet, and king. Paragraphs 784-786 of the Catechism describe these roles. Keep reading to find out more about this mission and for one practical suggestion for living your mission as Priest, Prophet, and King within your home each day.
Living our Roles as Priest, Prophet, and King
Priest: “On entering the People of God through faith and Baptism, one receives a share in this people's unique, priestly vocation: ‘Christ the Lord, high priest taken from among men, has made this new people 'a kingdom of priests to God, his Father.' The baptized, by regeneration and the anointing of the Holy Spirit, are consecrated to be a spiritual house and a holy priesthood.”(CCC 784)
Practical Tip: Bless your children. One of the great actions of the priest is the priestly blessing. It is an action deeply rooted in scripture through the person of Melchizedek. The book of Hebrews describes Melchizedek as the prototype of the priest linking him directly to Jesus, “Jesus has entered on our behalf as forerunner, becoming high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.” (Hebrews 6:20)
So, who is Melchizedek? He is a man of great mystery. He appears only once (in the book of Genesis) and even then, very briefly. He is the king of Salem (quite possibly what would later become Jerusalem). Thus, he is both king and priest. Abraham meets him after winning a victory in a great war. Genesis describes the encounter as such, “Melchizedek, king of Salem, brought out bread and wine. He was a priest of God Most High. He blessed Abram with these words: ‘Blessed be Abram by God Most High, the creator of heaven and earth; And blessed be God Most High,…’” (Genesis 14: 18-19).
So Melchizedek offers bread and wine (a foreshadowing of the Eucharist and the Mass) and then sends forth Abraham with a blessing. One can so easily see the root of the modern priesthood in this action.
While we may not be priests in the exact same manner, we can exercise the role of blessing in our homes. This is a practice we have incorporated with our children. Each night as part of their preparation for bed, I place my hand on their head and ask God to bless them. This has become a powerful moment in their lives each day. You can see their faces light up as I pray the words of blessing and woe to me if I should forget.
We also practice this action with one another when crises arise. I pray for my Sara’s healing when she is ill, injured, or in other need. It is a source of great support within our marriage.
Prophet: “‘The holy People of God shares also in Christ's prophetic office,’ above all in the supernatural sense of faith that belongs to the whole People, lay and clergy, when it ‘unfailingly adheres to this faith . . . once for all delivered to the saints,’ and when it deepens its understanding and becomes Christ's witness in the midst of this world.” CCC 785
Practical Tip: We often think of a prophet as someone who can tell the future. However, I find the following definition much more valuable. A prophet is one who speaks the word of God.
Another activity we have utilized with our children is to identify scripture passages with messages we believe God has prepared for our children. Each child has a piece of paper (that we keep on our mantle) on which we have written these verses down. Thus, we keep these messages from God in a visible place where the kids can see them at any time. We then take them down and read them from time to time (or any time the kids ask, which is quite often). Our kids even have them partially memorized. The verses include messages such as, “Even all the hairs of your head are counted” (Mathew 10:30) which is my 3-year-old son’s favorite. Other examples include, “I have called you by name: you are mine.” (Isaiah 43:1) or “Behind and before you encircle me and rest your hand upon me.” (Psalm 139:5)
We have explained to our children that these verses are the Word of God. These are words He wants to say to them. They are his little messages to them. These are also words that our children can use to combat the messages and harsh words of the world. I consider them as important messages, so that my children know they are loved even when I fail as a parent.
King: “Finally, the People of God share in the royal office of Christ. He exercises his kingship by drawing all men to himself through his death and Resurrection... For the Christian, ‘to reign is to serve him,’ particularly when serving ‘the poor and the suffering, in whom the Church recognizes the image of her poor and suffering founder.’ The People of God fulfills its royal dignity by a life in keeping with its vocation to serve with Christ.” CCC 786
Practical Tip: Choose a parish outreach to the poor and participate. If your parish is like ours, there are ample opportunities to participate. From the “Angel Tree” (purchasing presents for children in need), “Soles for Christ” (providing shoes for the needy), or our parish food pantry, there are ample opportunities to give. I am not saying we need to participate in every event, but I challenge you to pick one. It is very easy to walk past these requests and not look back. However, these projects offer us an opportunity to reflect on the blessings we have and what it would be like for them to be lacking.
We should also remember that there are spiritual works of mercy as well. Feel free to get involved visiting the sick and comforting the lonely. There is great opportunity right in our own neighborhoods. Quite likely, one of your neighbors is struggling with loneliness or isolation (especially in this time of COVID-19). It does not take a grand act. Make a phone call or drop off an unexpected meal to let them know you are thinking of them. The fruit can be eternal.