One of my dear friends was recently ordained to the priesthood. It was a grace-filled weekend, and it was a joy to witness three new priests give their lives for the Church.

A few days later, while at Mass, I watched my friend prepare the altar for the Liturgy of the Eucharist. It was still a rather surreal sight, and it was definitely still sinking in that he wasn’t playing dress-up. As I watched him, I thought of what a test of faith the office of priesthood is — not just to the priest, but to his congregation.One day he’s not a priest. The next day he is.
One day he can listen to my sins all I want, but he can do nothing. The next day, he can act in the person of Christ and take them away.
One day he has no power to bring Christ down on the altar. The next day, the words he whispers bring the marriage supper of the Lamb into our midst.

He looks no different. He sounds the same. But suddenly, the words he speaks have radical, earth-shattering capabilities. Why? Because he’s different. His very essence has been changed.

Suddenly, that close friend whom I’ve known for years and years and years is another Christ.

Perhaps this is how the people of Jerusalem felt when a bunch of fisherman and a tax collector and a zealot were suddenly very different men after Pentecost. How do you think Peter’s next door neighbor felt when he went from local fisherman to Bishop of Rome?

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