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Chapter 20. Holy Orders • 263

vation of others. The recipients of these Sacraments grow in holiness

through their service to others. We reflect on Holy Orders in this chapter

and Matrimony in the next one.


The eyes of all . . . looked intently at him.

—Lk 4:20

Luke’s Gospel reports the appearance of Jesus at a synagogue service in

Nazareth early in his public ministry, his first visit since the beginning

of his public ministry. The synagogue was a simple, unadorned meet-

ing space for prayer and religious instruction. After a prayer, Jesus was

handed a scroll on which was written Chapter 61 of Isaiah the prophet.

He read these words: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, / because he

has anointed me / to bring glad tidings to the poor. / He has sent me to

proclaim liberty to captives, / and recovery of sight to the blind, / to let

the oppressed go free / and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord”

(Lk 4:18-19).

He rolled up the scroll and sat down. There was a quiet pause as

the eyes of all looked intently at Jesus. He said, “Today, this scripture

passage is fulfilled in your hearing” (Lk 4:21). Jesus presented himself

to them as filled with the Spirit, consecrated and anointed to bring the

Good News to the poor. From the moment of Jesus’ conception in the

womb of Mary until his Resurrection, he was filled with the Holy Spirit.

In biblical language, he was anointed by the Holy Spirit and thus estab-

lished by God the Father as our high priest.

As Risen Lord, he remains our high priest. “He is always able to

save those who approach God through him, since he lives forever to

make intercession for them. It was fitting that we should have such a

high priest, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners” (Heb 7:25-

26). While all the baptized share in Christ’s priesthood, the ministe-

rial priesthood shares this through the Sacrament of Holy Orders in a

special way.