Living Witnesses in Christ the Prophet, Priest and King!

We, the entire contemporary humanity, in Church and state are challenged to cope up with the world today whose supersonic touch is on the rising high. As we welcome and cherish the Pilgrimage of Pope Francis to the Holy Land of the Martyrs from Uganda, we enter deeper into the theme chosen by the Catholic Bishops at this occasion: You shall be my witnesses (Acts 1:8).

In this introductory article, as Promoter of the Teaching, Sanctifying and Governing Ministries/Commissions in light of New Evangelization, in the Archdiocese of Kampala, I am contextualising the above theme to rhyme according to the identity of Christ the Prophet, Priest and King. He is the one who came that we may be empowered with his life to the full (John10:10). The beauty of this Mission was already at Creation, since all that was created was through Him (John 1: 1-10) who is the Word that was made flesh! (John. 1: 14).

From Christ, the Prophet we get the Teaching Ministry, from Him as Priest we get the Sanctifying Ministry and from Him the King comes the Governing Ministry. In becoming Living witnesses through these Commissions or Ministries, we aim at deepening our life in Christ. We thus move from a faith of habit to a personal living experience of the Saviour. In doing so, we daily remind ourselves of what we became at Baptism; when soon after the powering of water on our foreheads, we were anointed with the Holy oil of Chrism and were asked to live according to the life of Christ, the Prophet, Priest and King. Promoting the three Pastoral Commissions brings this task live into our daily life and Ministry. It becomes simpler for us to understand Christ and to be more detailed in both the catechetical instructions and in administration.

Thank God, the Spirit of God inspired Archbishop Dr. C. K. Lwanga, that we live and implement our Synod Acts within this Christological pattern!

In Living Witnesses in Christ the Prophet, Priest and King, we are theologically scanning the identity of him who once asked the disciples: who do the people say I am...and you? (Luke 9:18, 20). Modern theology and pastoral, just like modern technology, focus more on the inner constitution of an entity, rather than on its peripheral or visible side. We are spiritually and theologically mining into the core of this Son of God, the Lord of Lords and King of Kings! The beauty between that inner cosmological and Christological relationship, i.e. of creation and the Creator, is first and foremost apparent in the Philosophy of Religions. Through it we discover that natural religion too has its three pillars namely, its teaching (prophecy), its rituals (priesthood) and its way of life (kingship).

In celebrating the 50 years since the canonisation of the Martyrs from Uganda, we are challenged to even witness more than they did. These are people who were living with the white man for the first time let alone the Language and cultural differences. In spite of all that, these blessed people moved from Pages being pages in the palace of the earthly king to Martyrs and thus Conquerors of the heavenly King!

A simple glance at both print and electronic media today, will show us how much we should learn from the Martyrs to proclaim the Good News as the Gospel of joy in and out of season. This is what the martyrs did in the midst of persuasions contrary to the Gospel, in the furious anger of the King, before the burning furnace awaiting to extirpate them and at last praying for and forgiving their persecutors. We are not prophets to only our friends or people who are good to us! Our prophecy is even more urgent to and for our enemies, incumbents, immigrants, the poor, the sick and marginalized (Matthew 25, 45-46).

Today as Priests by virtue of our Baptism, we learn from the Martyrs not only to sacrifice to God only what we have, but also to offer of self; knowing very well that life depends on sacrifice. What we are is more important than what we have! This is the very reason why at every Holy Mass, before the prayer over the gifts, the priests calls us: Pray brethren, that mine and your sacrifice may be acceptable to....! Our greatest sacrifice as humanity is the Holy Sacrifice of Mass; the Eucharist. St. Jean Marie Vianney, the Cure of Ars says that the celebration of the Holy Eucharist is a sacrifice of thanks even greater than martyrdom. The reason being that in martyrdom humanity offers human sacrifice to God for humanity and in the Eucharistic Celebration the Son of God is offered to God for humanity!

Our kingship in the Kingship of Christ in Baptism is more apparent in our daily living. It is that way of life patterned to Christ. This calls us all to a more purified way of life whose core values are love, mercy, care and Justice. This is a mode of operation where it behoves us to claim our rights without forgetting our duties. Here is a kingship that transforms us from leaders to servants leading us to a free and faithful full life in Christ.

In empowering ourselves to be Living Witnesses in Christ the Prophet, Priest and King just like the Martyrs from Uganda did, we directly tap on the bundle of becoming real disciples in word and deed. Dear reader, is this not the simplest way to live a simple way of life that is not simplistic? Then let us begin, you and me are the living witnesses.

Fr. Dr. Deogratias Ssonko

Pastoral Commissioner, Kampala Archdiocese