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Fr. Michael's Thoughts on Biblical Imagery: Acting Anointed or Being Anointed


(Fr Michael Boakye Yeboah: Vice Rector of St Gregory Seminary, Kumasi-Ghana)


            Religious ministerial positions have been seen from different facets since the time of Christ. In recent times our popes have been warning seminarians, priests, religious and bishops of careerism in the ministerial priesthood. Some people are not interested to discern whether they have the vocation or not; they just want to “act anointed” to achieve their dreams.

            “Acting anointed” can be likened to actors on stage. The performance they put up should not be mistaken to be their real identities. They put up a performance just to fulfill the script given to them by their directors. Some men of God have really become actors or to some extent comedians. Nowadays it seems difficult to differentiate a Church building from a theatre; because the stage acts seem the same.

            In today’s Gospel one can deduce that the Lord may have seen the two sons of Zebedee as jokers. After their request Jesus asked them “can you drink the cup?” The positions of sitting at the Lord’s right hand and left hand were not stage acts, the drinking of the cup that comes with those positions meant sharing in the Lord’s passion. Like amateur stage actors, they were quick to respond that they can “drink the cup.” Anyway, the Lord seem to say, you may pretend to “play act” and drink the cup but that position is not mine to grant. The position is reserved for those who are really “anointed” and chosen by God.

            It was not only during the time of Jesus that people were scheming for “lucrative and juicy” positions; it seems worse today. Some people are not just using “stage acting and scheming” but are dancing with the devil to acquire religious positions at all cost. Of late I have been hearing of men of God who are part of different occult groups who are using their powers to bewitch others and in other instances I hear they wish to use their powers to control religious heads or remove them from office so that they can take their place.

            If you want to lead or occupy ecclesiastical position, know that it is not something that one can work for, it is given by God to those He deem called. You cannot “act anointed”; you need to “be anointed.” And remember that if you are really anointed you will understand with Christ that ecclesiastical positions of that nature come with the spirituality of the kenosis.  The kenosis is about Jesus’ suffering and crucifixion. If you really want to serve, get yourself prepared for this. With this Jesus includes genuine Christian suffering – whether it be spiritual suffering, sickness, torture, or martyrdom endured for Christ sake – in the redemptive fruitfulness of his atoning Passion. Since Jesus’ existence is an existence-for and his Passion is a suffering-for, everything suffered in following him and focusing on him is marked by this purpose, by a redemptive fruitfulness.

            The first reading reminds all men of God that like the “suffering servant” the person should give his life as an offering for sin. The first reading permits us to hear part of Isaiah’s great prophecy of the Servant of God who suffers for others. The second reading also carries a similar nuance, because its language presupposes the Gospel. Because our “great High Priest” has made sanctification for us, through him we can approach the throne of grace confidently. Men of God are meant to carry the crosses of their flock.

            Some men of God nowadays do not want to carry the Cross and follow Jesus; they just want to feed on the flock of Christ. Recently, a Catholic asked me whether the “Priestly vows” have been made optional by Pope Francis? When I probed further, he said some of “your brother priests” are just “acting anointed” and there is nothing that shows that they are Catholic priest. May God help his priests.


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