Monday January 16, 2023

Good News Reflections:
Making scripture meaningful to your daily life
by Terry Modica

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“Every personal sacrifice that a priest makes is a gift of Jesus to the world.”


Good News Reflection for:

Monday of the 2nd Week in Ordinary Time
January 16, 2023

Today’s Prayer:

Thank You, Lord Jesus, for the joy of Your living presence in our lives. Grant us the grace to leave behind everything that prevents us from receiving it in fullness. Amen.

SaintsSubscribe to Today’s Saint Quote & Prayer:
gnm.org/SaintQuotes/

Today’s Readings:

Hebrews 5:1-10
Psalm 110:1-4
Mark 2:18-22
bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/011623.cfm
USCCB Podcast of the Readings:
bible.usccb.org/podcasts/audio/2023-01-16-usccb-daily-mass-readings

Where is Christ’s priesthood today?

[ Listen to the podcast of this reflection ]

Jesus is a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek. So says today’s first scripture, which quotes what we use for today’s responsorial Psalm. What does this mean? Just who was Melchizedek?

Jesus was not born in the line of Melchizedek, but the order; Melchizedek was not in his family tree. Melchizedek wasn’t even a Jew; therefore, he was never a priest of the Covenant. The writer of this Letter to the Hebrews was not using a Hebrew example to help the readers understand who Jesus is.

Melchizedek was a Canaanite priest-king who lived at the time of Abraham. He ruled the town of Salem, which means “peace”. Nearly a thousand years later, a young Hebrew king, David, renamed it Jerusalem.

Melchizedek met Abram (later called Abraham) when Abram settled in Canaan with his family. Melchizedek worshipped God with him as they agreed to a peace treaty. He sealed this covenant with bread and wine, praying, “Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth. And blessed be God Most High, who delivered your enemies into your hand” (see Genesis 14:18-20).

Thus, we can define the “order of Melchizedek” as a God-worshiping priestly authority who provides peace and whose ministry is not exclusive to the Hebrew nation and the Jewish religion.

Jesus is this kind of authority. Like Melchizedek, he offers peace and seals the promise with bread and wine, although now it becomes his own body and blood. With this new covenant, his kingly priesthood takes the order of Melchizedek to its highest level and its greatest benefit. Through his death and resurrection, Jesus gives us complete and everlasting peace.

Jesus is the new wine skin that he speaks of in today’s Gospel passage. The old wine skin — the priesthood of the old covenant — consisted of sinful kings and sinful priests. Through the gift of the Eucharist, the sinless Jesus became the ultimate king, ruling in peace, and a new type of priest, atoning for the sins of all the world, giving peace to all who enter into the new covenant with him.

This is the meaning of the Eucharist.

The Catholic priesthood — i.e., the priesthood of Christ lived out in those who are ordained into the apostolic succession that goes back to St. Peter — is the continuation of Christ’s sacrificial presence among us. Every personal sacrifice that a priest makes (not marrying, responding to middle-of-night hospital calls, etc.) is a gift of Jesus to the world.

In other Eucharistic denominations, such as Episcopalian or Anglican, they believe that the bread and wine become Jesus due to the faith of the believer; in Catholicism, it is the faith of Christ that makes it happen. Therefore, even when a Catholic priest is a horrific sinner, the work of Christ is still always valid in him, always real, because it’s not the sinning priest who consecrates the bread and wine; it is Christ himself.

To reflect further about this, go to our WordByte called: “Preventing priest burnout amidst shortages” @ https://wordbytes.org/faqs/priest-burnout/

2023 by Terry A. Modica

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