30th Sunday Ordinary Time - Year B
Most Christians would take it for granted that Jesus is a priest. He offered his life as a sacrifice on the cross. In the first century this was not such a simple idea. Jews believed that the priesthood was hereditary--one had to be the son of a priest to be a priest.
The author of Hebrews defends Jesus' priesthood by noting an obscure twist of fate.
An obscure figure named Melchizedek played a small but important role. He was the priest-king of Salem (later, Jerusalem). He offered a sacrifice to God with Abraham that was accepted.
Many centuries later the Jewish priesthood began with the sons of Moses' brother Aaron (of the tribe of Levi). They flourished until the time of David. As the great king lay dying, his sons squabbled over the right to succession. The Levitical priests chose the wrong side, while the local Jerusalem priests sided with Solomon. When he became king, Solomon promoted the local priests. He based their claim to the priesthood on their descent from Melchizedek, a more ancient lineage. Christians taught that Jesus had the same kind of right.
A Blind Runner
Here's a simple experiment to try: go out into your backyard or into a park. Close your eyes and run in any direction. How far do you think you would get? Maybe a matter of a few feet before you stumble into something, a tree, a bush, a rock, or another person. The whole thing sounds impossible, but that is precisely what happens in today's Gospel.
Jesus is passing through Jericho, one of the lowest spots on earth. It is an oasis surrounded by desert, rocks and mountains. It is a stopover on the route to Jerusalem. Suddenly a blind man clamors for Jesus' attention. The lord calls him to come to him. Instantly the man jumps up and runs to Christ.
Jesus tells the man that his faith has already given him the power to see what the crowd does not. Immediately the man follows Jesus' way...to the cross.
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