The author of Hebrews was big on Melchizedek, and his “relationship” to Jesus. More on that in a moment. In the Gospel reading from Mark 3, Jesus heals a man with a withered hand on the sabbath. Once again the Pharisees, itching for a reason to come against him, well…come against him. The question has arisen, is there ever a wrong time to do the right thing? I think Jesus would say no to that.
Melchizedek is an interesting character. He is mentioned in only one verse in Genesis 14, and the story of his encounter with Abraham is just three verses (18-20). So why is the author of Hebrews so captivated by Melchizedek? He was king of Salem (in Hebrew “Shalom” – peace) and priest of God Most High. So, too, Christ. Our responsorial today is from Psalm 110 – “You are a priest forever,in the line of Melchizedek.” Our reading from Hebrews 7 includes this, too, and explains why. Since his parentage is not mentioned in the Scriptures, the ancients believed that Melchizedek had no beginning or end, “thus made to resemble the Son of God, he remains a priest forever.”
This always reminds me of the Sacrament of Holy Orders. A Sacrament leaves an indelible mark on one’s soul. So, when a man is ordained a priest, he remains a priest forever, just like Melchizedek, just like Christ. As we reflect on this notion today, let us pray for our priests. They need our prayers. Not just today. Not just tomorrow. But forever.
Father, we thank you for the gift of the priesthood. Bless our priests, fill them with your grace and help them to be the holy men that you call them to be. Amen.