Like almost all peoples throughout history, the Jewish people believed that sacrifice was one of the essential elements for dealing with sin and setting humanity free. The person who offers sacrifices to God on behalf of the people is called a priest. Thus, priests are an essential part of God's plan of salvation. Consequently, because Jesus is the Savior of the world, He must be a priest. For the Jews, all priests descended from the tribe of Levi. Yet Jesus was from the tribe of Judah. How can Jesus be a priest?
In the book of Genesis, we hear about the priest Melchizedek. He was a priest before there were the tribes of Israel. He was a mysterious figure "without father, mother or ancestry, without beginning of days or end of life" (Heb 7:3). The psalmist prophesied that Melchizedek's priesthood would continue (Ps 110:4). The writer of the book of Hebrews proclaimed that Jesus is a priest in the order of Melchizedek. Jesus sacrificed Himself on the altar of the cross. He is truly the Savior of the world, and we who are baptized into Him share in His priesthood (see 1 Pt 2:9; Rv 5:10). In Christ, we are priests in the order of Melchizedek. Alleluia!
Prayer: Father, may I live my baptismal priesthood to the full. I offer You my body as a living sacrifice (Rm 12:1).
Promise: "Then He said to the man, 'Stretch out your hand.' The man did so and his hand was perfectly restored." —Mk 3:5
Praise: St. Anthony gave those who came to him in the desert the benefit of his hard-won lessons in spiritual warfare.
Nihil obstat: Reverend Edward J. Gratsch, July 15, 2000
Imprimatur: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, July 17, 2000
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