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LAITY IN THE CHURCH - page 5 / 21

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Priesthood up to this point was the natural family bond between the father and his children, which was achieved through the first-born son.  The nation of Israel was supposed to stand in the role of the Lord's first-born son.  It was only when Israel failed to fulfill the vocation of first-born sonship that a more formal priesthood came about.  The Levites became the temporary substi­tution for fathers and first-born sons who failed their vocation.  This arrangement lasted until the loving Father sent his eternal, first-born Son to fulfill the original priesthood.  

What is the essence of the priesthood if not a family system in which the father expresses his love to his family through his first-born son who is given the mission of an older brother?  Was not Christ's divine sonship a fulfilment of this priesthood, making of humanity one family?

Here we are onto something of great interest to us within the Maronite Church regarding the role of the laity.  And here is another facet:  In the tradition of our language, if you see a priest or a lay person going to church to attend the Holy Sacrifice of the Liturgy and ask, "Where are you going?", both -- not the priest only -- will respond with the words "rayeh 'addis."  This is translated, "I am going to

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