Fr. Louis Guardiola, C.P.M.
The priest is an authorized, ordained mediator who offers true sacrifices in acknowledgement of God’s supreme authority and dominion over human beings and in expiation for their sins. A priest’s mediation is the reverse of that of a prophet, who communicates from God to the people. A priest mediates from the people to God.
Christ who is truly and fully both God and man, is the first, the last and the greatest priest of the New Law. He is the eternal High Priest, who offered Himself once and for all on the Cross, a victim of infinite value, and He continually renews that sacrifice on the altar through the ministry of the Church.
Within the Church are men who are specially ordained as priests to consecrate and offer the Body and Blood of Christ in the Mass. The Apostles were the first ordained priests, when on Holy Thursday night, Christ told them to do in His memory what He had just done at the Last Supper. Memorial has an entirely different meaning in ancient Hebrew and Greek meaning “continuation” and “to be cause to become present again”, that is The Lord’s Body and Blood. (See Fr. Mitch Pacwa). All Bishops and priests trace their ordination to The Apostles. Their second essential priestly power, to forgive sins, was conferred by Jesus on Easter Sunday night, when He told The Apostles, “For those whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven; for those whose sins you retain, they are retained” (John 20:22-23).
All the Christian faithful, however, also share in the priesthood by their baptismal character. They are enabled to offer themselves in sacrifice with Christ through the Eucharistic Liturgy. They offer Mass in the sense that they internally unite themselves with the outward offering made by the ordained priest alone.