Reflection on the Gospel of the Thursday
Of The Tenth Week In Ordinary Time
(Feast: Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Eternal High Priest)
Today we celebrate Jesus as the Eternal High Priest, according to the order of Melchizedek. The first question we need to ask is why according to the order of Melchizedek? The Book of Genesis shows us that, the eldest of the clan was always the mediator between them and God. The story begins with Adam the High Priest in the Sanctuary (Eden). We can follow the story of the priesthood where it was always passed on to the eldest son, along with his inheritance, by the the head of the family. This is best illustrated in the event of Jacob stealing the blessing and inheritance, by posing as his brother Esau. This priesthood should also be understood with how the Jews viewed the makeup of Creation, i.e. the Heaven, Earth and place of the dead. It reminds one of a temple. And Adam as the First is placed in it.
There is clarity of the passing on of the Priestly Blessing till Noah in the genealogies, where the eldest is always pointed out. Noah then blesses his eldest Shem but after that there is a huge generation gap. After that the story continues through an directly unattached person of Abram, whom we encounter as a resident of Babylon, and with his call begins Salvation History. But what happens to the Blessing and the Priesthood? In Genesis 14, we have the encounter of Melchizedek and Abram. Melchizedek does an offering of Bread and Wine and blesses Abram, and Abram gives him a tithe. Some scholars believe, this King of Salem (Salem means Peace), is none other than Shem and in and through this encounter he has passed on the Priestly Blessing to Abram/Abraham. To validate this, if we draw up a chart of every person mentioned in the Genesis Genealogies, with their age and time of living, we find that Shem’s timeline over lapses Abraham’s timeline. After this the Blessing goes through Abraham’s Descendants and comes to rest on the Kings of Israel. David as King inherits it, through Yahweh covenanting with David, because of his Love for Him, where David wanted to build a Palace/Temple for God, and thus was given an eternal Dynastic rule of Israel. Jesus as mentioned in the Genealogy of Matthew (chapter 1), is a descendant and is Son of David, and Abraham.
The Books of Hebrews draws our attention to the Adamic Priestly Blessing resting on Jesus by mentioning Melchizedek. Mind you Jesus is Priest forever according to Priestly Blessing of the Sons of Adam, not the Sons of Levi. The Aaronic Priesthood came much later, and was brought in because of Israel’s fall at Sinai. Jesus then is the Eternal King, Prophet and Priest of God’s People, by virtue of being given the priesthood of the Sons of Adam, as the New Adam and also by being the First to be raised to life in the New Kingdom of God.
Jesus then as Priest of God Most High, in his final moments before His Eternal Self Sacrifice, prays not only for his Apostles, his near and dear ones, his disciples, but for everyone in the world. He is interceding and praying that everyone reconcile to God, just as Adam was one with God, by being in God’s Presence in Eden.
For more information on the Priestly Blessing of Adam, please refer to ‘The Fathers Plan’, from the EWTN archives, where Jeff Cavins and Scott Hahn discus this.
Today’s Alternative Gospel Reading from Mathew 5: 20-26
In today’s scripture, we reflect on Jesus exhorting and encouraging us on how we live our lives daily. Let us reflect how we should not limit our understating of righteousness but should exceed all levels of it.
Matthew gives us a strong and a realistic example from our daily lives. We think we are sincerely following the commands and are happy for keeping them. eg ‘You shall not murder’ Jesus gives us a new insight and brings out the spirit of the Law and a proper original understanding in a new way by explaining how if we are angry with our brother/sister we already are liable for judgment i.e. equivalent to murder. So let us once again reflect, are we keeping the commandments? In particular are we keeping the commandment, ‘You shall not murder’. Let us reflect on todays Gospel, how nothing is greater than reconciling with our brother/sister. Let us reflect on how we can ruin our own lives if we do not come to a settlement before it reaches the peak. Holy Spirit help me to enter and work into your kingdom, help me to reconcile with my brother-sister.