One Minute Reflection – 23 January –Wednesday of the Second week in Ordinary Time – First Reading: Hebrews 7:1–3 – and The Memorial of Blessed Henry Suso OP (1295-1366)
For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him…Hebrews 7:1
REFLECTION – “An ancient priest of the Mosaic order could only be selected from the tribe of Levi. It was obligatory without exception that he should be of the family descending from Aaron and do service to God in outward worship with the sacrifices and blood of irrational animals. But he that is named Melchizedek, which in Greek is translated “king of righteousness,” who was king of Salem, which would mean “king of peace,” without father, without mother, without line of descent, not having, according to the account, “beginning of years or end of life,” had no characteristics shared by the Aaronic priesthood.
For he was not chosen by humans, he was not anointed with prepared oil, he was not of the tribe of those who had not yet been born and, strangest of all, he was not even circumcised in his flesh and yet he blesses Abraham, as if he were far better than he. He did not act as priest to the Most High God with sacrifices and libations, nor did he minister at the temple in Jerusalem. How could he? It did not yet exist. And he was such, of course, because there was going to be no similarity between our Saviour Christ and Aaron, for He was neither to be designated priest after a period when he was not priest, nor was He to become priest but be it. For we should notice carefully in the words, “You are a priest forever,” he does not say, “You shall be what you were not before,” any more than, “You were that before which you are not now” — but by Him who said, “I am who I am,”1 it is said, “You are, and remain, a priest forever.”
And the fulfilment of the oracle is truly wondrous to one who recognises how our Saviour Jesus, the Christ of God, now performs through His ministers even today, sacrifices after the manner of Melchizedek’s. For just as He, who was priest of the Gentiles, is not represented as offering outward sacrifices but as blessing, Abraham only with wine and bread, so in exactly the same way our Lord and Saviour Himself first and then all His priests among all nations, perform the spiritual sacrifice according to the customs of the church and with wine and bread darkly express the mysteries of His body and saving blood. This, by the Holy Spirit, Melchizedek foresaw and used the figures of what was to come, as the Scripture of Moses witnesses, when it says, “And Melchizedek, king of Salem, brought out bread and wine; he was priest of God Most High, and he blessed Abraham.” And thus it followed that to Him only was the addition of an oath, “The Lord God has sworn and will not change his mind, ‘You are a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.’”.…Eusebius of Caesarea (c 260-339) Bishop “Father of Church History”
PRAYER – Loving Father, grant me to have a true fervour in Your service. Help me to become a zealous worker for Your honour and glory, in imitation of your Son and of your holy saints. Grant that by the prayers of Blessed Henry Suso, we may grow in love, by Your grace. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, in unity with the Holy Spirit, one God forever.
“In the history of early Christianity there is a fundamental distinction between the first three centuries and those that followed the Council of Nicaea in 325, the first Ecumenical Council. Like a “hinge” between the two periods are the so-called “conversion of Constantine” and the peace of the Church, as well as the figure of Eusebius, Bishop of Caesarea in Palestine. He was the most highly qualified exponent of the Christian culture of his time in very varied contexts, from theology to exegesis, from history to erudition. Eusebius is known above all as the first historian of Christianity but he was also the greatest philologist of the ancient Church.”…Pope Benedict XVI, 13 June 2007