THE CHURCH AND THE MINISTRY OF THE WORD OF GOD
In history, the church is the universal sacrament of salvation and of life which comes from God. God himself brings all people together, revealing the mystery of his will, to bring all men into communion with Himself, in the Holy Spirit, through the work of his Son.
Within this mystery, Christ is the Mediator and the fullness, the Priest, the Prophet the Alpha and the Omega. Above all in Him, God relates with men as friends, after having spoken to him in stages and in many ways.
He is the Word of God through whom all has been created, in his incarnation in his life above all in his passion death and resurrection, the entire humanity is called to peace to intimate communion with God in a bond of universal love which involves all creatures.
1. Revelation of God to men.
Peace with God re-established in Christ is given as a heritage to all men mediating the Holy Spirit sent by the Father and the Son, in order to sanctify the Church without interruption.
The Spirit, who works in the entire world from the beginning of creation, from the day of Pentecost onward, makes His abode among believers as He would in a temple. Thus, the Spirit brings about hierarchical communion and fosters charity, thereby bringing about the memory of the life, death and resurrection of the Lord. In them the salvific presence is made real, above all through the proclamation of the word and in the breaking of the Eucharistic bread. In such a way, he enables and moves the believers to give testimony to the Gospel, so that seeing their good works, all glorify the one Father.
This is the mystery of which the Church has experience, the message for which the Church remains always the disciple, custodian and interpreter; and for that reason, she gives everlasting testimony in history, tasting and announcing ahead of time the fullness of eternal life.
All those who are attracted by the Father, and sent by the Holy Spirit, responding freely to the love revealed and communicated by the Son, form the assembled Church of the elect in Christ.
They are fully incorporated in the Church to the extent that they are joined to Christ in the bonds of the profession of faith, of sacraments, of ecclesiastical governance and of communion.
All of the Church is missionary by means of the same charity with which God has sent his Son for salvation of all men. It is unique and its mission, extended to her neighbor, to all men and all peoples, becomes a universal sign and efficacious instrument of the peace of Christ.
The mission of the Church is carried out through witness and service, with a variety of offices and the richness of the gifts which Christ gives her through the Holy Spirit and which express themselves together in the three-fold ministry: prophetic, kingly and priestly.
They are three ministries of the one mission of the Church, intimately connected one to the other. The ministry of the word has a liturgical and governing value; priestly ministry has a prophetic and pastoral one, the ministry of governance also has a liturgical and prophetic role.
The Church and the Word of God.
The ministry of the word of God is the exercise of the prophetic mission of Christ, which continues in the Church. God, who has spoken in the past, does not cease to speak with the Spouse of the Son. The Holy Spirit, through whom the living voice of the Gospel resounds in the Church, and through the Church to the world, introduces believers to the entire truth and in that resides the word of Christ in all of its richness.
The Church cultivates a religious hearing of the word of God, which seed, germinating in the good earth irrigated by heavenly dew, absorbs the
vital lifeblood and transforms and assimilates it in order to produce finally an abundant harvest. From the word of God, the Church is assembled and its children regenerated. The Church depends on the Word of God, for this the apostles regard themselves to be essentially ministers of the word and dispensers of the mysteries of God.
The community of Christians is a prophetic community. For that purpose, Christ shares his prophetic power. In the Church every believer is, for his/her own part responsible to the word of God. Each one receives the Holy Spirit to announce it unto the ends of the earth. To this end, the Holy Spirit dispenses to each one the grace, charisms and offices according to the position which each occupies in the Church.
The pastors have the mission to announce authoritatively and authentically the word of God. It is charged with recognizing the authentic prophetic charisms, which the Holy Spirit distributes to all of the People of God. The Supreme Pontiff is constituted by Christ to be the pastor and teacher of all of the brothers and sisters: and you, when you are converted, confirm your brethern in the faith.
Regarding the office of teacher, the apostles and their successors exercise it for the Church and for the world in hierarchical communion with the Vicar of Christ and in communion among themselves. By the power of the divine mandate and with the assistance of the Holy Spirit, they obtain and guarantee the sense of faith in the Christian people and guide it with love in the way of truth.
For they should not neglect the convergent and active contribution of priests, of the faithful, of theologians in an hierarchical communion of charisms and gifts.
The Church is disciple and witness of the entire word of God,
since it is disciple and witness of Christ, the fullness of all of Revelation.
Therefore, the Church proclaims in Christ, religiously and faithfully heard, the voice of the God who raises up from Creation, the presentiments and the echoes of the Word in history and in the culture of the peoples, the revelation of his mystery and of his covenant with Israel and of the eternal covenant with the new people of God, and the prophecy of eternal peace with Him.
In Sacred Tradition and in Sacred Scripture, in both Testaments, the Church finds the source and the power and the rule of her prophetic mission.