Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Tuesday: An Oath and A Promise

Today in the Letter to the Hebrews the author attempts to strengthen those who might be abandoning the early Church as well as those who continue to struggle with their own humanity.  He makes clear that God has not forgotten them and all that they have done in helping others.

The author uses the well-known history of Abraham who asked for God's help.  To him he swore by his own name  -- there was and is no one greater than God himself -- and made a promise that he would "bless you (Abraham) and multiply you."  In time this is what Yahweh did for Abraham.

To further his oath and promise he gave to them and to us the reality of his Son as our redeemer.  To him God entrusted the role of high priest "according to Melchizedek."  Interesting is the answer to this question:  "How does Melchizedek fit into this picture?  Where did he come from?  In God's plan he is used to be a type of Jesus Christ.  That great high priest has little in a profile of himself.  None seem to know his parents and none know when he died.  He appears seemingly out of nowhere to be the high priest.  His background, according to scripture scholars is likened to that of Jesus.  His beginning is unknown and although crucified as a man, in his resurrected divinity he continues on forever.

Tomorrow the Letter will add more to our understanding of Jesus as the great High Priest.  But for us today, it might be the beginning of our beginning to consider what priesthood is ... not just the priesthood that ordained men posses but the reality of the priesthood of the laity, as noted in the documents of Vatican II.  What is that priesthood of the laity?  More tomorrow.