Browsing Pastor's Notes

Sixth Sunday of Easter

Christ has Risen, as He said He would, Alleluia!!!

In advance of the National Eucharistic Congress this July, I’m continuing to look at some of the Scriptural accounts of the Eucharist. There are so many that show God’s Plan included the Eucharist from the beginning.

Be pleased to look upon these offerings with a serene and kindly countenance, and to accept them, as once you were pleased to accept the gifts of your servant Abel the just, the sacrifice of Abraham, our father in faith, and the offering of your high priest Melchizedek, a holy sacrifice, a spotless victim. (Roman Missal – Eucharistic Prayer I)

Melchizedek is a somewhat mysterious figure. He shows up in only three verses, Genesis 14:18-20, but he remained forever in the hearts and minds of the Jews and the early Christians. “Melchizedek, king of Salem, brought out bread and wine. He was a priest of God Most High” (Gen 14:18). He is described as the king of Salem, which means King of Peace. His approach to Abraham is one of peace. He makes an offering of peace and thanksgiving to God Most High on Abraham’s behalf, following Abraham’s conquest of four other kings who had attacked and captured his nephew, Lot. Melchizedek is a good foreshadowing of Jesus Christ, King of Kings, who comes to liberate those attacked and captured by sin by means of His Sacrifice. Many have suggested that Salem is the first establishment of what would later become Jerusalem. This too ties Melchizedek to the future reign of King David and the messianic promise that an heir of David would sit upon the Throne forever. While there is no lineage between the two, they all ‘rule’ over the same kingdom. And now Jesus the King reigns forever at the right hand of the Father, in the Kingdom without end.

Melchizedek is the first in the Scriptures to be called a priest. His priesthood is thought to have no end, as proclaimed in Psalm 110:4, “a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.” The priesthood of Aaron and the Levites in Judaism have no direct connection to Melchizedek. Levites were priests by virtue of birth and blood. This forever priesthood is perfectly fulfilled in Jesus Christ. The forever priesthood of Jesus Christ is by calling, by a rebirth through water and the Holy Spirit, and by a sharing in the Blood of Christ. The priesthood of the Church is a sharing in the forever One Priesthood of Jesus, since the offering is the same Offering of Jesus Himself – both Priest & Victim on the altar of the Cross. Psalm 110:4 is in part where we get the idea of ‘Holy Orders’ as a way of speaking about priesthood. It is ordered (designed) by God and an order (command) from God. Not just commanded, but aligned and configured by God’s will for our good. St. Paul extensively expands and clarifies the priesthood of Jesus in light of Melchizedek in Hebrews 7:1-8:6.

It is to be noted that the first person to be called a priest is also the first to make an offering of ‘bread and wine.’ Just as Melchizedek’s priesthood prefigures Jesus’, so too is this offering fulfilled in the Last Supper. The bread and wine become the sacramental prefigurement of Jesus’ self-offering of His Body & Blood, Soul & Divinity. Later in the Passover, bread, wine, and the lamb will be further connected to foreshadow Christ.

Interestingly, the response to Melchizedek’s offering is that Abraham offers him a “tenth of everything”. This is the first place in Scripture where tithing is mentioned. We are shown that we render our own pleasing offering by giving back the first tenth part to the Lord. Part of the way that we share in the offering of Christ (and Melchizedek) is to give God the First Fruits of our labors as a response and recognition that all comes from God. As we come to the Mass to share in the Eucharist – in Christ the Priest’s self-offering – we are called to offer to Christ our own self-offering. We are to give Him our firsts: first love, first commitment, first thoughts, first efforts, first funds. We are not to approach the altar empty-handed any more than we are to receive fully everything in reception of Christ in the Eucharist.


Nothing Less than saints for the Holy Family of God.
Holy Family, Gathered in Peace with the Bread from Heaven, Pray for us.

~ Fr Jeremy M. Gries


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