January 18, 2023
by Larry Hopp
Creighton University - Retired
click here for photo and information about the writer

Wednesday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 313

Hebrews 7:1-3, 15-17
Psalm 110:1, 2, 3, 4
Mark 3:1-6

Praying Ordinary Time

Today’s readings begin with the story of Melchizedek.  While he does not get much mention in the Old Testament,  his story certainly provides us with some interesting insight into the lengths that our God goes to help us grasp key elements of our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ.  Melchizedek’s story begins briefly in the 14th chapter of Genesis with Abram’s interaction with Melchizedek, who is identified as both king and priest.

Then in today’s Responsorial Psalm, the concept is further enhanced where we see that a reference to the line of Melchizedek is a reference to a king and priest with power and majesty that lasts forever.  This obvious reference is to Jesus, who sits at the right hand of God, who rules with a powerful scepter, and exudes holy splendor as a priest forever. 

With this Old Testament overview of the line of Melchizedek, we then can move into today’s first Reading found in the  7th chapter of the letter to the Hebrews.  Here we are reminded, that Jesus:

  • is a king and a priest of God Most High
  • is a righteous king
  • is a king of peace
  • has God as His only ancestry, He is the Son of God
  • has always existed and will always exist
  • is our priest forever
  • has the power of a life that cannot be destroyed

All this is noted as who Jesus is “in according to the order of Melchizedek”.  Perhaps this is just another example of God, through His Word, providing us with a unique character to help us to begin to grasp just how powerful & majestic our Savior really is. 

With this basic illustration of our Lord and Savior, we can better begin to grasp the power of Jesus found in today’s Alleluia in Matthew.  As a priest forever, it makes perfect sense that he would preach the Gospel of the Kingdom.  As a king with unparalleled power, of course He could and would go around curing every disease among the people during his time as God-Man on earth.  Alleluia, ALLELUIA ! !

As our reading for today comes to a close in the Gospel found in the 3rd chapter of Mark, Jesus raised our understanding of heavenly power to another level.  This story is so much more than a withered hand, changing a life forever through miraculous healing.  Jesus was able to see into the hearts of the Pharisees, to understand how they had missed the most important part of love.  Jesus used this miracle to accomplish so much more than blessing one man and his family.  Isn’t that the lesson we find repeated throughout the Bible?  God is reaching out to each of us on so many levels with every story throughout both the Old & New Testaments.  This fact alone testifies to the critical importance of spending time in His Word each and every day.  This story doesn’t end with Jesus’ question to the Pharisees: “Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath rather than to do evil, to save life rather than to destroy it?”  That rhetorical question not only cuts to the heart of the Pharisees, but equally to my heart.  It seems to suggest once again that Jesus has a much deeper understanding of agape love than I do.  Something that I must continually work on, for Jesus looked around at them with anger while grieving for their hardness of heart.  That seems to be the definition of Jesus’ love.  The kind of love that provides hope for my broken life – my broken heart. 

Dear Heavenly Father, your Word is so amazing, so powerful.  It contains the shocking wisdom that I so desperately need.  Thank you for your patience as well as the time you give us to spend with you each day, listening to you and studying.  Help me to become the man that you created me to be.  In the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ. Amen

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Larry Hopp <Larry.hopp@outlook.com>

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