DON BOSCO CENTER OF STUDIES
INSTITUTE OF THEOLOGICAL FORMATION
Paranaque City, Philippines
Author: Noel G. Judith Jr.
Title: The Life and Roles of the Priest in the Response of Man and the Church to the Trinitarian Call to Communion
Adviser: Fr. Ramon Garcia Jr., SDB, MATh, SThL
Degree: Master of Arts in Theology
Specialization: Dogmatic Theology
Though tasked to lead God’s people toward the divine, in fulfillment of the basic calling to be in communion with the Trinitarian life, the priest has to be at the same time immersed in the world. He is thus one with the people entrusted to him while also being set apart for God. This paper attempts to examine more closely the life and roles of the priest, who being in persona Christi is placed in a crucial position in the call-response dynamic that happens in man and in the Church. Through a reading and analysis of sources on the Sacred Scriptures, Fundamental Theology, Christology, Anthropology, Ecclesiology, Priesthood, and some Church documents, the paper begins by exploring the Trinitarian call to communion—made manifest in creation and salvation history, especially with the Incarnation and the institution of the Church; it then considers this call in the context of the individual and society, and then in the context of the Church; then proceeds to the main focus of the study by examining in the perspective of the priest this call-response dynamic that takes place in man and in the Church.
The priest’s embodiment of Christ is of great importance as he fulfills his sacerdotal, prophetic and pastoral roles; and as he lives a life that involves intimacy with the Father, intimacy with the Trinity, prayers and contemplation of the Word, anticipation of the life to come, desire for the realization of God’s Kingdom, constant celebration of the Sacraments, and openness to the Spirit. In the end, it is the relationship of the priest with the Son of God who became flesh that gives the priest the characteristic attitude of being “one of us” in his response to the Trinitarian call to communion as a man and as a minister of God in the Church. The centrality of Christ in his life gives meaning to his sacrifices and provides him with perseverance in being one with the people, sharing in their pains and anxieties, and their joys and victories. Becoming like Christ in the midst of the people becomes the priest’s way of life, spirituality, and prayer.