Chapter 10. The Church: Reflecting the Light of Christ • 117
popes, patriarchs, bishops, priests, deacons, the laity, religious men and
women—each group with its special mission and responsibility.
Jesus Christ is the head of this people whose law is love of God and
neighbor. Its mission is to be the salt of the earth and the light of the
world and a seed of the possibility of unity, hope, salvation, and holiness
for humanity. Its destiny is the Kingdom of God, already partially expe-
rienced on earth and fully known in heaven. All God’s people, through
their Baptism, participate in Christ’s offices of priest, prophet, and king.
A PRIESTLY PEOPLE
All of the baptized share in Christ’s priesthood. This participation is
called the “common priesthood of all the faithful.”Their works, prayers,
activities of family and married life, apostolic endeavors, relaxation,
and even the sufferings and setbacks of life can become spiritual offer-
ings pleasing to God when united to the sacrifice of Christ. Such acts of
God’s people become forms of divine worship that by his design sanctify
Based on the common priesthood of all the faithful and ordered to
its service is the ordained, ministerial priesthood. This priesthood is con-
ferred by the Sacrament of Holy Orders.
The ministerial priesthood differs in essence from the common
priesthood of the faithful because it confers a sacred power for
the service of the faithful. (CCC, no. 1592)
In a later chapter, we will reflect on the unique role of those in Holy
Orders and on the special service they provide the whole Body of Christ.
A PROPHETIC PEOPLE
God’s people also share in Christ’s role as prophet. This means both
teaching and witnessing God’s Word in the world. A real prophet, by
teaching and good example, leads others to faith. St. Francis of Assisi
once said, “Preach always. Sometimes use words.” Priests, laity, and reli-
gious can all collaborate in the Church’s missionary and evangelization