Tuesday, January 18, 2011

In the line of Melchizedek

The letter to the Hebrews today reaches back to a person first mentioned in the book of Genesis to describe the eternal high-priesthood of Jesus, in which we all participate by virtue of our baptism. What makes it even more interesting is that the letter does not trace it to Aaron, the traditional beginning of priesthood in the old testament but to Melchizedek, King of Salem. And this connection becomes so central in our faith that it becomes part of the Roman Canon (eucharistic prayer I). Is it simply the reference to bread and wine or is there something more here.

In his name are found three key words:mlk,zdh, and shlm. Sorry the lack of vowels, welcome to Hebrew.
mlk- king
Zdh-often translated as righteousness, it is linked the the requirement of charity on the part of every practicing Jew.
Slm- according to jewish commentary, a reference to Jerusalem, we most often link it also to the word shlm which is translated as peace, but the word contains much more. It is a state of health, or wholeness, when all is as God intends.
According to the Jewish tradition, the bread and wine he offers, are signs of friendship and hospitality, again for the Christian they will come to be much more.

Quite a few years back, I remember bumper stickers that said, "If you want peace, work for justice", a call to action in the world.

Perhaps we are reminded that there needs to be a preceding step, the one in which we critique, not the world outside but, the world inside, and ask ourselves to we posses a spirit of true righteousness, in the fullest sense of the world.

Mechizedek literally "Righteousness is my king."-- the model not just for the ministerial priesthood, but the baptismal priesthood of all the faithful. May we live constantly a righteousness, peace, and charity that are rooted in the bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ.