In this Easter season, which leads us to Pentecost and also directs us to the celebrations closing the Year for Priests, planned for next June 9, 10 and 11, I cherish dedicating again some reflections to the topic of the ordained ministry, pausing on the fruitful reality of the priest‘s configuration to Christ the Head, in the exercise of the three "munera" he receives, that is, the three offices of teaching, sanctifying and governing.
To understand what it means to act "in persona Christi Capitis" -- in the person of Christ the Head -- on the part of the priest, and to understand also what consequences stem from the task of representing the Lord, especially in the exercise of these three offices, it is necessary to clarify first of all what is intended by [the word] "representation." The priest represents Christ. What does it mean, what does it signify to "represent" someone? In ordinary language it means -- generally -- to receive a delegation from a person to be present in his place, to speak and act in his place, because the one who is represented is absent from the concrete action.
We ask ourselves: Does the priest represent the Lord in the same way? The answer is no, because in the Church, Christ is never absent, the Church is his living body and he is the Head of the Church, present and active in it. Christ is never absent; in fact he is present in a way totally free of the limits of space and time, thanks to the event of the Resurrection, which we contemplate in a special way in this Easter season.