The First Reading toady tells us about Melchizedek who was a king and a priest. The name Melchizedek means King of Righteousness. He was also the King of Salem which is the Hebrew word for peace. The Author of the letter presents Melchizedek as the prototype of Jesus, who is the King of righteousness and the King of Peace. Melchizedek is King which means he has dominion over his kingdom.
The Author also quotes from the Psalm today: you are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek. Abraham, the ancestor of the Old Testament priests, had to give Melchizedek a tenth of his possession. This means the priesthood of Melchizedek is greater than the Old Testament priesthood. This is the priesthood of Jesus, who was not a priest because of physical descent, but through the power of indestructible life.
Jesus as King means he has dominion over his kingdom and he is priest who, by rights, has to receive what we have to offer them to God. As a priest and as King of Righteousness, he teaches how to worship God the right way. Which is why in the Gospel today, when Jesus was in the synagogue, he asked the Pharisees whether it is lawful to do good or do harm on the Sabbath, to save life or to kill? When they remained silent, Mark tells us: Jesus looked around at them with anger; he was grieved at the hardness of heart, then he proceeded to heal the man with a withered hand. This episode shows us the kingship of Jesus, because he has authority to reinterpret the Sabbath Law and to prove this, he healed the man, proving Jesus also has authority over sickness. As a priest, he taught the Pharisees the right interpretation of the Law, that it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath, that the Sabbath was made for the good of the human being, and blind obedience to the Law is not righteous.
Jesus continues to reveal himself to us, in the midst of our suffering, in the midst of our confusion, in the midst of our triumphs. We just need to open our eyes to see him as he is, and not according to our ideas of him.
St Fabian was the Pope from 236 to 250. He so happened to be there when the people were electing the Bishop of Rome. After 13 days of deliberation, a dove descended on Fabian and the people took this as the sign God has chosen him. He was elected pope immediately. As the Pope, he acted as the High Priest and Ruler of God’s Church. At the start of his reign, he was able to establish good relationship with the emperor. He sent seven Apostles to preach the Gospel in Gaul and also exercised his authority over the Church by setting up seven regions each headed by deacons.
When Decius became emperor, there was again persecution of Christians, and Fabian was martyred on January 20, 250. He died faithful to his King, disobeying the government’s immoral law of forcing people to worship against their free will. Jesus is King over any emperor and any government.
Lord, you are King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Give us courage to worship you alone. Teach us how to worship you in spirit and in truth.