The Priest is a gift to the whole world, the world to which he has been sent, not just because he brings the message of Christ to the world but also because he is to be a symbol of the presence of God among the people. He is another Christ; He is a bearer of Christ because all who see him and interact with him are supposed to see Christ in him. The Priest is a gift to the world because he is called to be mindful of the good and wellbeing of everyone in his care. He is not concerned only about the wellbeing of those who are agreeable, those whom he likes or those who like him. The priest is solicitous for the wellbeing of all his people and so he is mindful of both those who are weak in faith and troubled as well as those who are strong and cannot be shaken.
The priest is a gift of God to the whole world, because he is a symbol of unity as well as an instrument for forging the chain of unity, which binds all his people together as one. In a world that is bitterly divided, in a nation that is groaning under the yoke of ethnic and religious conflicts, in a community that is suffering as a result of useless bickering that widens even further the divisions of ethnicity, the priest is called to be a symbol of unity as well as the instrument by which the world is brought to unity. Jesus makes it clear that the devil, as cunning as he is, cannot succeed if it is divided against itself. How much more necessary is it the case that those who work for the enthronement of all that is good and right must be united if they are to succeed. The priest is to be the arrowhead in securing unity in our world.
To be continued next week.
• Most Rev. Alfred Adewale Martins is the Archbishop of the Metropolitan See of Lagos.
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