Psalm 110:

Wednesday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time

January 20, 2021


Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 110, familiar from last week. Its use again today reminds us that our readings, early in the liturgical year, are focused on the emerging ministry of Jesus and what his “priesthood” or ministry teaches us about God.

Psalm 110 is a David psalm affirming God’s choice and support of David as God’s shepherd and king of the Israelites. David’s leadership is through a “priesthood” beyond that of lesser religions and deities. David has inherited the same blessing as Abram, delivered by the arcane figure of Melchizedek.

The LORD has sworn, and will not repent:
    “You are a priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek.”

Psalm 110: 1

Abram Meets Melchizedek – Peter Paul Rubens

Psalm 110 is the only other reference in the Hebrew Scriptures to Melchizedek, first described in Genesis 14. In Genesis, Melchizedek comes out of nowhere to bestow a blessing on Abram.

As our first reading from Hebrews describes him:

Melchizedek’s name first means righteous king,
and he was also “king of Salem,” that is, king of peace.
Without father, mother, or ancestry,
without beginning of days or end of life,
thus made to resemble the Son of God, he remains a priest forever.

Hebrews 7: 1-3

Jesus is the new Melchizedek, the human expression of God’s Blessing. As our Gospel reveals, his “priesthood” – his ministry – will supersede the Law with love. His “righteousness” will be defined by mercy not statute.


Through our Baptism, we share in the ministry of Jesus. We are graced to live a new righteousness of love and mercy. We are called to bring a blessing to the world in the name of Christ.

Let us rejoice then and give thanks
that we have become not only Christians,
but Christ himself.

Augustine of Hippo: Tractates on the Gospel of John

The blessing of Melchizedek was a confirmation to Abram that he was uniquely loved and chosen by God. Our ministry to others should confirm them in the same blessing, calling both them and us to full life in Christ, our High Priest.

Yours is sacred power in the day of your birth, in holy splendor;
    before the daystar, like the dew, I have begotten you.

Psalm 110: 3

Poem: Melchizedek – John Henry Newman
(This poem tapped into the loneliness Newman felt as he was away from home for an extended period of time.
THRICE bless’d are they, who feel their loneliness;
To whom nor voice of friends nor pleasant scene
Brings aught on which the sadden’d heart can lean; 


All that was left for the ageless Melchizedek was to seek “His presence, who alone can bless.” Newman, who had been at sea for almost a month, was keenly aware of the pains of absence. He saw in his longing for home an analog of the deeper longing for the presence of God at the heart of his being. Newman, like Melchizedek, was lost in foreign lands for what seemed like several lifetimes.
( – Rev. Michael T. Wimsatt, in his dissertation Ecclesial Themes in the Mediterranean Writings of John Henry Newman (December 1832-July 1833))


Thrice bless’d are they, who feel their loneliness; 
To whom nor voice of friends nor pleasant scene 
Brings that on which the sadden’d heart can lean; 
Yea, the rich earth, garb’d in her daintiest dress 
Of light and joy, doth but the more oppress, 
Claiming responsive smiles and rapture high; 
Till, sick at heart, beyond the veil they fly, 
Seeking His Presence, who alone can bless. 
Such, in strange days, the weapons of Heaven’s grace; 
When, passing o’er the high-born Hebrew line, 
He forms the vessel of His vast design; 
Fatherless, homeless, reft of age and place, 
Sever’d from earth, and careless of its wreck, 
Born through long woe His rare Melchizedek.


Music: The Spirit of the Lord Is Upon Me – Marty Goetz

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me
For the Lord has anointed me, yes the Lord has anointed me
He sent me to preach good news to the poor
And to bind up the broken in heart
To proclaim His freedom to all who are bound, all who are bound

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me
For the Lord has anointed me, yes the Lord has anointed me
He sent me to preach the year of His grace 
And that vengeance belongs to our God
And to comfort all those who mourn and who grieve, all those who grieve

To give them beauty for ashes, for mourning the oil of joy
And for the spirit of sorrow the garment of praise
And they will be called the trees of righteousness
Planted by God’s own hand that He may be glorified.

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me (And I will greatly rejoice in the Lord)
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me (And my soul shall exult in my God)
For the Lord has anointed me, yes the Lord has anointed me
He sent me to preach good news to the poor and to bind up the broken in heart
To proclaim His freedom to all who are bound, all who are bound.

And I will greatly rejoice in the Lord and my soul shall exult in my God
For He’s clothed me with garments of His salvation 
And wrapped me with robes of His righteousness
Yes upon me is the Spirit of the Lord, Upon me is the Spirit of the Lord
He’s anointed me with the Spirit of the Lord

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