Melchizedek. I admit that I signed up for this day so I could learn more about Melchizedek. It’s a technique I’ve been using since college. It forces me to learn new things and go out of my way to (hopefully) see things in a different light or achieve a shift in my focus and thought process. Friends and family insist I need to do this more frequently, as they find me a bit eccentric, but I correct them with eclectic, and we all laugh.
The first reading and the psalm speak of the order or in the line of Melchizedek. Melchizedek first appears in the bible in the book of Genesis (ch 14). It is the first time that someone is referred to as a priest of God Most High and the King of Peace (Salem or Shalom).
While researching, I found a really fascinating talk given by Dr. Scott Hahn that breaks this open. Melchizedek means righteous king in Hebrew. The King of Righteousness, the King of Shalom (peace). Does this ring any bells for you? It’s hard to miss these titles of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Now, let’s hold onto this thought and dive into today’s Gospel.
Today, we find Jesus and the man with the crippled hand. People are all around Jesus, wondering if he will cure on the Sabbath if he will ‘work’ on this holy day. If he does, Jesus is seen as a lawbreaker, which triggers the Pharisees search for a permanent way to silence his ‘heresy’.
Jesus is the first priest of the Catholic Church. Our priests today are all priests in the line of Melchizedek. Jesus is Divine and all knowing. He asked while on the cross for his Father to forgive, for we do not know what we do. Our priests are human and learn through trial and error as each of us does. We humans can learn from divine inspiration, the wisdom of others, through study, and experience. We each have the opportunity to invite others to learn of God’s love and forgiveness as well as experience it ourselves.
God’s love and forgiveness are available to each and every one of us. His love is unconditional. His forgiveness, grace, and mercy are too, however, we have to ask for it. Our priests through the grace and wisdom of the sacrament of Holy Orders they received when ordained are anointed to minister to all those on earth, not just a select few. The line of Melchizedek is continued on today in each of these men. Let us pray today for our priests with these words from Pope Benedict XVI:
Lord Jesus Christ, eternal High Priest, you offered yourself to the Father on the altar of the cross and through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit gave your priestly people a share in your redeeming sacrifice. Hear our prayer for the sanctification of our priests. Grant that all who are ordained to the ministerial priesthood may be ever more conformed to you, the Divine Master. May they preach the Gospel with pure heart and clear conscience. Let them be shepherds according to your own heart, single-minded in service to you and to the Church, and shining examples of a holy, simple, and joyful life. Through the prayers of the Blessed Virgin Mary, your Mother and ours, draw all priests and the flocks entrusted to their care to the fullness of eternal life where you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.
Beth is part of the customer service team at Diocesan. She brings a unique depth of experience to the team from her time spent in parish ministries, sales and the service industry over the last 25 yrs. She is a practicing spiritual director as well as a Secular Franciscan (OFS). Beth is quick to offer a laugh, a prayer or smile to all she comes in contact with. Reach her here firstname.lastname@example.org.