The Catechism unpacks—by way of comparison—the “two participations in the one priesthood of Christ”: the common priesthood of all the faithful and the ministerial (or hierarchical) priesthood of the bishops and priests. Fr. Mike hones in on the ministerial priesthood as a means for Jesus to minister to his Church. His ministers act on his behalf in persona Christi Capitis: in the person of Christ, the Head. Today’s readings are Catechism paragraphs 1546-1553.
The priesthood of the Old Covenant among the people of Israel is fulfilled in the one priesthood of Christ. The Catechism compares the Old Testament priesthood, “powerless to bring about salvation,” with the ordained ministry in the New Covenant. Fr. Mike unpacks the reality that there is only one true priest—Jesus Christ. His “priests” on earth are humble ministers. Today’s readings are Catechism paragraphs 1539-1545.
The Catechism enters Chapter Three on the “Sacraments at the Service of Communion” which include both Holy Orders and Matrimony. As it introduces the sacrament of Holy Orders, Fr. Mike reminds us that every vocation is a gift, and that—no matter what state of life we are in or have been called to—we should read this chapter with an open heart and a grateful spirit. Today’s readings are Catechism paragraphs 1533-1538.
This summary of the Catechism’s teaching about the Anointing of the Sick is concise and rich. This holy anointing brings us hope and courage as we endure illness and the difficulties of old age. While we pray for healing of body and soul, this sacrament also prepares us for death. Fr. Mike ends this episode by explaining three practices of the Church that help her members prepare for death. Today’s readings are Catechism paragraphs 1526-1532.
The effects of the Anointing of the Sick are numerous and deeply transformative. In times of great need and temptation, this sacrament brings us strength, courage, peace, and the forgiveness of sins. Fr. Mike explains that these effects aren’t only for the individual recipient but for the whole ecclesial community. We learn that when a person approaches the threshold of death, joining this anointing with Reconciliation and the Eucharist as viaticum constitute “the sacraments that complete the earthly pilgrimage.” Today’s readings are Catechism paragraphs 1520-1525.
The Anointing of the Sick is not just for those on the verge of death but for any faithful suffering from a grave illness. Fr. Mike explains that because of this, we don’t have to put this sacrament off to the very end; instead, we can enjoy the graces it confers as often as is fitting throughout a lifetime. This section also discusses how we can celebrate the Anointing of the Sick. Today’s readings are Catechism paragraphs 1514-1519.
By taking up our cross and following Christ, we gain a new way of seeing sickness and frailty. Along with this newness of vision, the Church is given the command from her founder to heal the sick. Since its beginning, the Church has anointed the sick among us, praying for their healing and salvation. Amid their sufferings, the suffering can endure, uniting themselves to Christ’s own afflictions for the sake of the Church. Today’s readings are Catechism paragraphs 1506-1513.
Sickness and suffering bring us face-to-face with our fragility and limitations. While they might cause some to lose hope and become bitter, we can also endure them in such a way as to grow in maturity and trust in God. Jesus not only heals the sick in the Gospels but also plunges into suffering’s depths. In this redemptive work, we know Jesus as the physician of soul and body. Today’s readings are Catechism paragraphs 1499-1505.
In today’s nugget day, Fr. Mike reviews the major themes of the sacrament of Reconciliation. Fr. Mike emphasizes the six spiritual effects of this sacrament and reminds us of the great gift of Confession because, as the Catechism states, “to the eyes of faith, no evil is graver than sin.” We conclude today’s article with humble gratitude for God’s unfathomable mercy. Today’s readings are Catechism paragraphs 1485-1498.
Fr. Mike expands on the purpose of indulgences and clarifies why the Church has the authority to provide indulgences. We also learn about the role of the Communion of Saints in our strive for holiness and the different liturgical forms and elements of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Today’s readings are Catechism paragraphs 1474-1484.