The coming weekend solemnity is the Body and Blood of Christ, year C. We are first presented with the mysterious figure, King Melchizedek, who also seems to be a priest out of nowhere. The historical events of Genesis 14 are shrouded in the mists of legend. After a successful recovery of his relative Lot and his property, The offering of bread and wine was done to celebrate the defeat of bad rulers and a restoration of concord to the Valley. It is a blessing for Abraham, who response with a tithe of the spoils from the battle. The contrast is King Bera of Sodom who offers Abraham a share of the material goods and persons captured, which Abraham rejects. The blessing of Melchizedek appears to be more valuable and important to him. The contrast is between the things of earth and the things of heaven; Abraham chooses the better part.

As for Melchizedek, he become a type for King David, who both governs and blesses, and for Jesus, again both ruling and sanctifying. Psalm 110 reinforces this thematic connection; it is used in the ordination rite. The priests of the new covenant do not sacrifice animals, but offer bread and wine, as simple and rudimentary staples, yet also pointing to a feast and celebration.

It is hard to imagine, for many, that the Mass is a feast, because it has been put to the them as an obligation, which means a burden. It is a victory over evil (the bad kings) and a celebration of the restoration of family (reuniting Abraham and Lot. This is a good place to begin a theology of the Mass and the Eucharist.

Alan Hartway

Theological Studies at Catholic Theological Union, Chicago IL; Master of Fine Arts, Poetics, at Naropa University, Boulder CO 1996; Master of Arts, Greek Classics, University of Colorado, Boulder CO 2012; Taught at Naropa University from 1999 through 2015; Chair of Interdisciplinary Studies from 2007-2015; Member of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood, Kansas City Province since 1974; Pastor at Guardian Angel Catholic Church, Mead, CO, ministry from 2007-2020 Currently Retired

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