So many people suffer today, this very day, because there is no sign of the Cross in the world. In a godless, secularized world without eternal meaning, the Christian priesthood--clerical, through ordination, and lay, through baptism--is the only sign of the Cross which brings faith, hope, and charity to a seemingly soulless world.
"They stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing that he was dead. But when the disciples gathered around him, he got up and entered the city..."
Subsequently, Paul taught the disciples: "It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God.” Acts 14:19-28
Recently, a few former acquaintances crossed my path revealing the frailty of the Catholic-Christian person in the temptations of a god-emptied secular world. One man whispered the shame of his reoccurring entanglement with pornography, and another man, reduced to tears, admitted the pain of a relapse in drug abuse.
Now the secular world, comfortable in its 'nonjudgmental' seat of authority, condemning neither poor behavior, nor previously perceived perverted lifestyles, delights in the downfall of the frail Catholic-Christian person. Sitting, recently, in a public place, watching the news on television, the topic came up of the two brothers who had their HGTV show canceled because of their beliefs in traditional marriage. Most of the people next to me objected to such censorship of opinion...that is, until the brothers explained their biblical belief in marriage--solely between a man and a woman.
Support quickly became hostility, as tolerance for all beliefs immediately disappeared when the Christian man witnessed to his faith. This is the reality of evangelization in the secular city. This is the self-sacrifice of the priest.
"Your kingdom is a kingdom for all ages, and your dominion endures through all generations." Psalm 145:10-13, 21
The 'History' Channel recently had a show which demonstrated, through much theory and conjecture, how man was created by the earth. Unexplained in all the explanations of multiple cataclysmic events (which wiped out the dinosaurs, and 'gave birth' to man), was not the how, but the why. The secular city, and the scientific world (though true science needs the freedom to practice science with a purely scientific method), not to mention the popular culture which is formed by them, sees only the effects of God, but does not see God--or, conveniently, dispenses with God (and His pesky Commandments).
That is why a dirt poor Nazarene offered Himself as the Perfect Sacrifice on His wooden altar as the High Priest of our salvation--saving us while we were still blind to God. And this Perfect Priestly Sacrifice is perpetuated unto this very day, in the hands of the Catholic priest during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass--while most of the world still remains blind to God.
"Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid. You heard me tell you, 'I am going away and I will come back to you.’" John 14:27-31
Many people struggle within the secular city with a duality of mind.
In one way they hold faith and hope in what seems like a fairly tale by current standards--the return of Jesus Christ. In another way they despair as they are inundated with technological information, and popular opinion, which makes Jesus as real as the Keebler elf, or Alice in Wonderland, and elevates the individual human person as god, and makes scientific and political ideologies, along with hedonism (and other isms) into the religion of the day.
Yet this duality of mind, found in so many people, births a cry for the infinite. And only the priest (ordained and lay) offers the Bread of Life, and the cup of salvation, in sacrament and sacrificial love.