The feast day of Our Lord Jesus Christ the Eternal High Priest is a significant celebration in the Catholic Church. It falls on the Thursday after Pentecost and is set aside to honour the role of Jesus as our High Priest. This day is a reminder of the central role of Christ in Catholic theology and worship, and an opportunity to deepen our understanding and appreciation of his ongoing presence in our lives.
This day focuses on Munus sacerdotale (Jesus’ Priestly Office). Jesus is considered the model for the clergy, with priests acting in persona Christi (In the person of Christ). The laity are thus urged to pray that priests would be more like Christ, the compassionate and trustworthy high priest (Hebrews 2:17), ever-living to intercede for humanity before The Father (Heb 7:25).
The priesthood of Christ is a central theme in Catholic theology. Christ is seen as the mediator between God and humanity, who offered himself as a sacrifice on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins. Through his death and resurrection, he reconciled us with the Father and opened the way to eternal life. As the Eternal High Priest, Christ's priesthood transcends time and space and is not limited to a particular religious institution or human hierarchy.
On this feast day, we reflect on the significance of Christ's priesthood and his ongoing presence in the Eucharist. The Eucharist is seen as the central act of worship, in which Christ is truly present in the form of bread and wine, and is offered as a sacrifice to God the Father. Through the Eucharist, we believe they are united with Christ and with one another in a mystical body.
During Mass on this feast day, the priest may wear vestments of a special color and read from readings that emphasise the priesthood of Christ. The focus is on Christ's sacrifice on the cross and our union with him through Holy Communion. The priest may also offer special prayers for priests, who are called to follow in the footsteps of Christ and act as his representatives on earth.
In addition to Mass, we may also participate in other devotions and prayers on this feast day. This could include Eucharistic adoration, the Liturgy of the Hours, or simply spending time in quiet reflection on the significance of Christ's priesthood and its ongoing impact on our lives.
The feast of Our Lord Jesus Christ the Eternal High Priest Mass 2023