Three readings and a Responsorial Psalm have been waiting heavy on me during this celebration of the Soleminty of the Body of Christ (Corpus Christi).
In the First Reading from Genisis 14:18-20, the King and High Priest has been mentioned: “In those days, Melchizedek, king of Salem, brought out bread and wine, and being a priest of God Most High, he blessed Abram with these words: “Blessed be Abram by God Most High, the creator of heaven and earth; and blessed be God Most High, who delivered your foes into your hand. Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything.”
In the Responsorial Psalms 110:1-4 we hear of this mysterious King and High Priest again in the response: “You are a priest forever, in the line of Melchizedek.” The rest of the Psalm 110: 1-4 from King David fortells the coming strength of the expected Messiah: “The LORD said to my Lord: ‘Sit at my right hand till I make your enemies your footstool.’ The scepter of your power the LORD will stretch forth from Zion: ‘Rule in the midst of your enemies.’ ‘Yours is princely power in the day of your birth, in holy splendor; before the daystar, like the dew, I have begotten you.’ The LORD has sworn, and he will not repent: ‘You are a priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek.'”
In the Second Reading from Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, he reinforces the sacredness of and the forgiveness of sins in the Body of Christ at the Last Supper with his Apostles: 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 “Brothers and sisters: I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus, on the night he was handed over, took bread, and, after he had given thanks, broke it and said, ‘This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.’ For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes.” The whole reason why we exist as Christians is because of the Body and the Blood that was given up for all humans.
Finally, the true miracle of and the power of Jesus, Son of God is shown among 5,000 men, not counting the women and children. How do we know this?…because, as all miracles performed by Jesus, they were done in public, for all the people to see. To reinforce this public miracle and the accuracy of it’s portrayal, Jesus, so brilliantly, tells his disciples to group the masses into sections of fifty. Alas, all can easily and accurately count the multitude of what is to take place as described in Luke: 9:11B-17 ” Jesus spoke to the crowds about the kingdom of God, and he healed those who needed to be cured. As the day was drawing to a close, the Twelve approached him and said, ‘Dismiss the crowd so that they can go to the surrounding villages and farms and find lodging and provisions; for we are in a deserted place here. ‘He said to them, “Give them some food yourselves.’ They replied, “Five loaves and two fish are all we have, unless we ourselves go and buy food for all these people.’ Now the men there numbered about five thousand.”
The thought that weighs so heavily on my heart is not that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and has given his life as a ransom for a sinner like me…no, it is…who is this Melchizedek? and why is he the only King and High Priest mentioned in the Bible? and what “line of Melchizedek” are King David and Paul speaking of?
The answers to this riddle can be found in a few key verses of the Bible:
- Paul explains in Hebrews 5:5-10 “And so it was not Christ who gave himself the glory of becoming high priest, but the one who said to him: ‘You are my Son, toda I have fathered you, and in another text: ‘You are a priest forever, of the order of Melchizedek. During his life on earth, he offered up prayer and entreaty, with loud cries and with tears, to the one who had the power to save him from death, and, winning a hearing by his reverence, he leant obedience, Son though he was, through his sufferings; when he had been perfected, he became for all who obey him the source of eternal salvation and was acclaimed by God with the title of high priest of the order of Melchizedek.”
- Paul answers the question of levitical priesthood versus the priesthood of Melchizedek and sets the record straight in Hebrews 7:11-12 “Now if perfection had been reached through the levitical priesthood–and this was the basis of the Law given to the people–why was it necessary for a different kind of priest to arise, spoken of as being of the order of Melchizedek rather than of the order of Aaron? Any change in the priesthood must mean a change in the Law as well.”
- The most thought-provoking to me is:… that we know that Abram was the preceding name of to be Abraham, the father to all Jews, Muslims and later Christians. Jesus tells us in John 8:58 “Jesus replied: ‘In all truth I tell you, before Abraham ever was, I am.'”
So, was Jesus here before Abraham? It’s a good possibility. Was he on earth named Melchizedek, setting the original Law of how the Church, his “bride,” was to be; before the Law was corrupted with greed, power, control and extortion over 5,000 years ago? Well…I am not opposed to the idea, and actually…evidence leads to it. After all, John reinforces all that Jesus is, and was when he refers to Jesus as “the Word” in John 1:1-5 “In the beginning was the Word: the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things came into being, not one thing came into being except through him. What has come into being in him was life, life that was the light of men; and light shines in darkness, and darkness could not overpower it.”