Melchizedek, Eternity

Peter Paul Rubens Meeting of Abraham and Melchizedek

Melchizedek. Offered bread and wine. Our father Abraham approached him to offer sacrifice. The head of the People of God gave Melchizedek a holy tithe, the tenth of all his goods.

St. Paul points out to us children of Abraham that we do not know where Melchizedek, our forefather’s priest, came from. We really don’t know who Melchizedek was at all–except that he was a priest who offered bread and wine and presided as king over a city of peace. And what became of Melchizedek? Don’t know.

What we do know is that Christ offered His sacrifice of Himself as a priest of Melchizedek’s order.

Which means that we, too, are priests of the order of Melchizedek. Those of us consecrated to minister at the altar in the place of Christ our Head—we offer bread and wine like Melchizedek. And the Lord transforms these offerings into His Body and Blood. And all of us—all Christians—offer ourselves to the Father along with the holy sacrifice of the altar.

Seems to me that to say that I belong to the order of Melchizedek—which I do, which we all do—seems to me that saying this is like saying: “Where I am from and where I am going are actually very mysterious questions.”

James Bond SkyfallPeople think James Bond is a mysterious dude. Where is he from? Well, I think it turns out that he’s from Scotland. Or something like that.

Whereas, we members of the holy order of Melchizedek of old: our origins and our destiny are indescribably more mysterious. Where are you from, chief? Northwest Washington? New Jersey? Lackawanna, New York? ¿Distrito Federal?

Not quite, pardner. Not quite.

And where are you headed? Disney World? Florida? Six feet under?

Not exactly.

Where did Melchizedek go, after he made his holy sacrifice? He went back into the city of perpetual peace.

The young Martin Luther King, Jr., expressed dissatisfaction with the idea that the church exists solely to save souls. We should not focus exclusively on the next life. We’ve got to address the injustices of the here and now. Where love is lacking in this world, we must fill the gap with ours.

Amen. Right? After all, what will we have to offer on the altar as priests of the holy order of Melchizedek, if we do not strive and struggle to be heroes of love in this world? If we do not stand up as champions of people who have no champion?

But, with two generations having passed since “The Sixties” actually began in the second half of the 1950’s, we have to address new kinds of questions.

The question then was: How do we translate our faith in the eternal into action for our poor brothers and sisters here and now?

But now the world is full of people who simply do not know the answer to questions like: Why be just at all? Why be loving? Why should I do the right thing? Why should I seek the truth?

And the only really convincing answer to these questions is: Because every single moment of our lives on this third rock from the sun has eternal significance. Because God is real and everywhere and always. And the great priest of the order of Melchizedek, Jesus Christ, has revealed to us that we have been made for nothing less than eternal life in the kingdom of peace. And He is our way there.