Lord Jesus, reveal yourself to us.
I often find myself drawn to the mystery of the figure in today’s first reading, Melchizedek, a priest and king in the time of Abraham. He stands out against other kings or priests of the Old Testament in that he is both priest and king (Gn. 14). Our reading from Hebrews reveals Melchizedek as an Old Testament prefiguring of Jesus Christ – in other words, he is a foreshadowing of Jesus, the ultimate priest and king to come. The psalm highlights the union of kingship and priesthood seen in Melchizedek and eventually Christ, filled with royal imagery surrounded by the refrain: “You are a priest forever in the line of Melchizedek.”
Why is this significant? Reading today’s Gospel with an understanding of Melchizedek, helps us focus in on specific treasures in the Gospel. In this case, reflecting on Melchizedek allows us to learn more about our Savior, Jesus Christ. Hebrews tell us that that name of Melchizedek means “righteous king,” and that he was the king of peace, yet his appearance in Genesis is only a shadow of the ultimate reality to be fulfilled in Jesus. Jesus is the true priest and king. As we read the Gospel, let us ask the Lord what this relationship between Old Testament Melchizedek and the fulfillment of the kingship and priesthood in Jesus Christ reveals to us about the heart of Jesus Himself.
In today’s Gospel passage, Jesus enters the synagogue and encounters a man with a withered hand. As the Pharisees look on to see if Jesus will heal on the Sabbath, a day in which work was to be ritually abstained from, Jesus engages with the crippled man and heals his withered hand. Jesus asks the Pharisees, “Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath rather than to do evil, to save life rather than to destroy it?” (emphasis mine)
This is our Priest and our King. What kind of priest and king is He? As a meditation, we may allow ourselves to imagine we are the man with the withered hand in Mark’s Gospel….
Jesus enters. He sees us. He engages us. He desires to come close to us. He heals us.
Is this how the first century Jews imagined a king or a priest? Jesus radically challenged the notion of kingship of His day. But further, is this how we imagine kingship today? It may not be. In our very meditation of these daily readings, the Holy Spirit is encouraging us to see kingship through God’s eyes and learn more about the heart of Our Savior, the righteous King, the King of peace. Jesus is forever our priest and king – one who desires to come close to our hearts. A priest and king who knows us and loves us. Who desires to enter in to the most withered parts of our souls. So that we may be healed. So that we may be free. So that we may share in His peace. What a King our Jesus is.
Lord Jesus, Most High Priest and King, thank you for revealing to our hearts the truth of who you are. Most gracious and compassionate priest and king, we open our souls to you. Heal the withered parts of our souls as you healed the man in today’s Gospel. Envelop our hearts, oh King of peace. Thank you, my God and King, for your desire to draw close to me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
As a step further in your prayer, I invite you to spend time in praise of our King Jesus. Here is a song which may accompany your praise: All Hail King Jesus