by Erik Ritland
The Word and the Church
Bible commentary following the Catholic Lectionary (which gives an overview of the entire Bible) by the Fully Alive staff
The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ
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Gn. 14: 8-20
I Cor. 11: 23-26
Melchizedec is one of the most mysterious figures of the Old Testament. He is the king of peace and righteousness, has no mother or father, and offers the great patriarch Abraham a meal of bread and wine.
The priest Melchizedec, without beginning of life or end of days, is what scholars call a “type” of Christ – that is, someone who prefigures him. Today as we celebrate the feast of Corpus Christi, remembering the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, we marvel that his sacrifice was clearly foreshadowed in the earliest writings of scripture. God works.
The three main pillars of the earliest Christian faith were the crucifixion of Christ, his resurrection, and the Eucharist. This is laid out plainly in the letters of Paul, the earliest writings of the New Testament. He doesn’t talk much about Jesus’ teaching or preaching. Instead he emphasizes God’s great work of salvation, the cross and the resurrection, and the new reality that ratifies God’s new covenant: the Eucharist. This emphasis on the Eucharist is shared by the authors of the Gospels, the New Testament, and Christians writing in the decades immediately following. Deep study of these writings is essential to understand what early Christians thought and how they acted.
De-emphasizing the importance of the Eucharist – or worse yet, eliminating it – is taking away the very foundation of Christianity, a foundation as basic as the cross and resurrection. Nothing earthly can compare with the heavenly food of receiving and being filled by the author of life.
Erik Ritland is a writer and musician. He is the lead staff writer and podcast host of Fully Alive Christian Media and Rambling On, which features commentary on music, sports, and an intellectual ragbag. He was also Lead Staff Writer for Minnesota culture blogs Curious North and Hometown Hustle. Reach him via email.
Erik Ritland received his MA in Theology in 2017. He's the founder and content manager of Fully Alive Christian Media and Rambling On, copy editor and writer for Music in Minnesota, and an acclaimed songwriter.