Sunday, June 10, 2007

Melchizedek pointed ahead, and so do you (Homily for Corpus et Sanguinis Christi)

During the readings, I imagine you wondered, "Who is this ‘Melchizedek’ fellow?

He was a curious, shadowy, figure:
a king and a priest, whose origins no one knew.

He brought an offering of bread and wine.

He blessed Abraham and all his descendants.

Who is Melchizedek?
He is the hint, the suggestion, of what would come: Jesus Christ.
> Jesus, the eternal Son of God,
who has no beginning or end;
> Jesus, the first and true priest of all Creation;

> Jesus, the rightful king of the universe;

> Jesus, who offers the new and everlasting sacrifice that is a blessing to all humanity.

Melchizedek pointed forward to something greater; and so do we.
You and I are the image, the sign,
for our time, that points ahead to the reality
still of what is yet to come,
a reality that is vaster and greater
than anyone can possibly imagine!

This is why, the language we use as Christians
is full of power even if we don’t realize it.

It would be like a story where everyone called a girl a princess—
only to find out that she really was!

Here’s an example:
we use the term, Body of Christ, to speak of both the Eucharist,
as well as ourselves?
Do we really think we are the same?

I bet you’d say, no—I’m not God!
I’m not Jesus—no one falls to his knees before me!

That’s all true.
And yet—when you and I call the Eucharist, as well as ourselves,
"the Body of Christ—
we are, in fact, describing the same reality!

Because the Eucharist we adore and receive is already, and completely,
the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ; while you and are still "in process."

Here is the Body of Christ (the Cross),

Here is the Body of Christ (the Eucharist);

and here is the Body of Christ (the people).

This Cross is
a sign of what Jesus did for us—
as well of what a lot of Christ’s Body is still going through.
The Eucharist
is Jesus, truly and really here, but also a beacon, a lifeline, connecting us—
the ones who are "under construction"—to the reality that, for us, still lies ahead.

This is what St. Thomas Aquinas said:
the Eucharist is "the pledge of future glory."
Glory for whom? Glory for us!

I said a moment ago that you and I,
in calling ourselves the Body of Christ,
may not think we’re the same as the Eucharist—
and of course, we’re not.

Not yet!
But it is what lies ahead for us.

No one said it better than St. Augustine:

If you want to understand the body of Christ,
listen to the apostle telling the faithful,
"You, though, are the body of Christ and its members."
So if it's you that are the body of Christ
and its members, it's the mystery that means you.

It is to what you are that you reply "Amen,"
and by so replying you express your assent.
What you hear, you see, is "The body of Christ,"
and you answer, "Amen."

So be a member of the body of Christ,
in order to make the Amen true.

1 comment:

Fr. Jay Toborowsky said...

Check out Scott Hahn's tape (or CD) set on the Letter to the Hebrews, especially the section about priesthood and Melchizedek. It blew me away!