According to the Order of Melchisedech - Monsignor Yennock's Homily May 29, 2016

Jun 6, 2016

ACCORDING TO THE ORDER OF MELCHISEDECH

THE SOLEMNITY OF THE MOST HOLY BODY AND BLOOD OF CHRIST

MAY 29, 2016

NEXT SATURDAY AT THE CATHEDRAL BISHOP CUNNINGHAM WILL ORDAIN TWO YOUNG MEN TO THE PRIESTHOOD OF JESUS CHRIST.  ONE OF THE POWERS GIVEN TO THE PRIEST AT ORDINATION IS THE POWER TO OFFER THE SACRIFICE OF THE MASS. WITHOUT THE PRIEST THERE CANNOT BE A MASS PRECISELY BECAUSE THE MASS IS A SACRIFICIAL ACT PERFORMED BY A PRIEST.

PSALM 110 THAT WE USE IN TODAY’S MASS IS THE SAME PSALM USED IN THE MASS OF ORDINATION. “YOU ARE A PRIEST FOREVER ACCORDING TO THE ORDER OF MELCHISEDECH.”(Psalm 110:1)

MELCHISEDECH IS A FASCINATING AND MYSTERIOUS CHARACTER WHO APPEARS IN THE BOOK OF GENESIS AT THE TIME OF ABRAHAM 2000 YEARS BEFORE CHRIST.  MELCHISEDECH WAS A KING AND A PRIEST.

WHAT IS FASCINATING ABOUT MELCHISEDECH IS THAT HE OFFERS A SACRIFICE OF BREAD AND WINE. THAT WAS AN UNUSUAL SACRFICE FOR THOSE TIMES WHEN MOSTLY ANIMALS WERE OFFERED IN SACRIFICE TO GOD.

BIBLE SCHOLARS TELL US THAT THE SACRIFICE OF MELCHISEDECH WAS A FORSHADOWING OF THE SACRIFICE OF THE MASS. JESUS CHRIST, A PRIEST AND A KING OFFERED THE SACRFICE OF THE MASS AT THE LAST SUPPER.

WHY IS IT THAT THE CHURCH MAKES PARTICIPATION AT MASS A SERIOUS OBLIGATION? WHY IS IT THAT NO OTHER FORM OF WORSHIP CAN SUBSTITUTE FOR THE SACRIFICE OF THE MASS? WHY IS IT THAT WORSHIPING ON THE LAKE OR IN THE WOODS OR AT AN ART GALLERY OR A CONCERT IS NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR THE MASS?  CAN’T WE RAISE OUR MINDS AND HEARTS TO GOD WHILE WE ARE SURROUNDED BY BEAUTIFUL AND INSPIRING SIGHTS AND SOUNDS?

WE CAN SURELY WORSHIP GOD IN ALL THESE WAYS. BUT NONE OF THESE CAN SUBSTITUTE FOR THE SACRIFICE OF THE MASS. ONE REASON FOR THIS IS THAT JESUS HIMSELF IS OFFERING WORSHIP TO THE FATHER AT HOLY MASS.

IN THE VESTIBULES OF OUR CHURCH WE HAVE A SIGN THAT SAYS: “YOU ARE ABOUT TO PARTICIPATE IN THE MOST PERFECT FORM OF WORSHIP THE WORLD HAS EVER KNOWN.THE HOLY SACRIFICE OF THE MASS”

WHY IS THE MASS THE PERFECT FORM OF WORSHIP? THERE IS ONLY ONE REASON. JESUS, THE SON OF GOD, THE PERFECT PRIEST IS WORSHIPING THE FATHER. JESUS THE SON OF GOD IS THE PERFECT VICTIM WHO IS OFFERED TO THE FATHER.

THE MASS IS NOT A PRAYER SERVICE THAT WE PUT TOGETHER WITH READINGS AND RITUALS AND MUSIC. THE MASS IS NOT JUST A COMMEMORATIVE MEAL AS MANY “BIBLE CHRISTIANS” CALL THE LAST SUPPER.  

THE FIRST CHRISTIANS KNEW THAT THE MASS WAS A SACRIFICE FROM THE VERY BEGINNING. IN THEIR WRITINGS THEY PROCLAIMED THE SACRIFICIAL CHARACTER OF JESUS INSTRUCTION: “DO THIS IN REMEMBRANCE OF ME. (Luke 22:19)

40 YEARS AFTER JESUS ASCENDED INTO HEAVEN, IN A BOOK CALLED THE DIDACHE, WE READ AN EARLY DESCRIPTION OF HOW CHRISTIANS WERE WORSHIPING IN THE YEAR 70 A.D.

HERE’S WHAT WE READ IN THE DIDACHE:”ASSEMBLE ON THE LORD’S DAY, AND BREAK BREAD AND OFFER THE EUCHARIST; BUT FIRST MAKE CONFESSION OF YOUR FAULTS, SO THAT YOU’RE SACRIFICE MAY BE A PURE ONE.  (DIDACHE 14). NOTICE THAT THE DIDACHE REFERS TO THE EUCHARIST AS A SACRIFICE AS EARLY AS 70 AD.

THE MASS AS SACRIFICE WAS REFERRED TO BY THE PROPHET MALACHI FOUR HUNDRED YEARS BEFORE CHRIST WHEN HE PREDICTED THAT THE LORD WOULD REJECT JEWISH SACRIFICES. HERE IS WHAT MALACHI PROPHESIED:

“FOR FROM THE RISING OF THE SUN, EVEN TO ITS GOING DOWN, MY NAME SHALL BE GREAT AMONG THE GENTILES; IN EVERY PLACE INCENSE SHALL BE OFFERED TO MY NAME, AND A PURE OFFERING; FOR MY NAME SHALL BE GREAT AMONG THE GENTILES, SAYS THE LORD OF HOSTS.” (Malachi 1:11)

 

 

A PROTESTANT HISTORIAN OF THE EARLY CHURCH, J.N.D. KELLY, WRITES THAT CHRISTIANS IN THE FIRST CENTURY REGARDED THE PROPHECY OF MALACHI TO REFER TO THE EUCHARIST.

THE SACRIFICIAL CHARACTER OF THE MASS IS IMPORTANT FOR TWO REASONS: FIRST IT SHOWS A CONTINUITY BETWEEN THE OLD TESTAMENT SACRIFICES AND THE SACRIFICE OF THE NEW TESTATMENT.

SECOND IT EMPHASIZES THAT THE SACRIFICE AT THE LAST SUPPER WAS MORE THAN A COMMEMORATIVE MEAL AS IS HELD BY MOST PROTESTANTS.  

SINCE MANY PROTESTANTS, IN THE 16TH CENTURY DENIED THAT MASS IS A SACRIFICE HERE IS WHAT THE ECUMENICAL COUNCIL OF TRENT IN 1545 SAID ABOUT THE SACRIFICE OF THE MASS: “IN THIS DIVINE SACRIFICE WHICH IS CELEBRATED IN THE MASS, THE SAME CHRIST WHO OFFERED HIMSELF ONCE IN A BLOODY MANNER ON THE ALTAR OF THE CROSS IS CONTAINED AND IS OFFERED IN AN UNBLOODY MANNER.”

“UNBLOODY MANNER” IS THE “PURE SACRIFICE” IN THE PROPHECY OF MALACHI.

WORSHIP BY SACRIFICE IS ROOTED IN MORE THAN 2000 YEARS OF OLD TESTAMENT HISTORY WHERE MEN, FROM ABEL, TO ABRAHAM, TO AARON. TO SAMUEL AND ALL THE HIGH PRIESTS IN THE ORDER OF AARON, WORSHIPED GOD BY OFFERING SACRIFICES IN THE TEMPLE.

THIS IS THE WAY A SACRIFICE WORKS. AN ORDAINED PRIEST, NOT A MINISTER, OR A PREACHER, OFFERS SACRIFICE. WHAT IS OFFERED BY THE PRIEST IS A VICTIM. THE VICTIM IS OFFERED TO GOD AND THEN DESTROYED ON AN ALTAR. THE WORDS PRIEST, VICTIM, AND ALTAR HAVE MEANING ONLY AS THEY REFER TO RITUAL SACRIFICE.

IN THE SACRIFICES OF THE OLD TESTAMENT THE VICTIM WAS USUALLY A LAMB. THE PRIEST, ORDAINED IN THE ORDER OF AARON KILLED A LAMB TWICE A DAY IN THAT MAGNIFICENT TEMPLE IN JERUSALEM.  HUNDREDS OF GALLONS OF ANIMAL BLOOD RAN OVER THE ALTAR OF SACRIFICE. 

FOR OVER 2000 YEARS GOD THE FATHER ACCEPTED THE BLOOD OF ANIMALS FOR THE REMISSION OF SIN. EVEN AT THE JEWISH PASSOVER THE BLOOD OF THE LAMB WAS SACRIFICED TO SAVE THE FIRST BORN SONS OF THE HEBREWS.THAT WAS THE OLD TESTAMENT BETWEEN GOD AND THE JEWS.

EVERY BIBLE SCHOLAR KNOWS THAT THE BLOOD OF LAMBS OR SHEEP OR OXEN CAN NOT REALLY TAKE AWAY SIN. ANIMAL BLOOD WAS ONLY A FORESHADOWING OF THE BLOOD OF JESUS CHRIST THE SON OF GOD WHO ALONE COULD TAKE AWAY THE SINS OF THE WORLD.  

JESUS IS THE NEW PASSOVER LAMB WHO SHED HIS BLOOD TO SAVE THE WORLD.

AT MASS, WHEN THE PRIEST INVITES THE PEOPLE TO COMMUNION HE HOLDS UP THE BODY OF CHRIST AND WHAT DOES HE SAY?  BEHOLD THE LAMB OF GOD, BEHOLD HIM WHO TAKES AWAY THE SINS OF THE WORLD. JESUS IS THE TRUE LAMB OF GOD. BY HIS SACRIFICE ALONE CAN SINS BE TAKEN AWAY?

WHEN WE LOOK AT THE CROSS IN VIEW OF THE LAST SUPPER, WHAT DO WE SEE?  WE SEE A PRIEST, A VICTIM AND AN ALTAR. JESUS IS THE PRIEST WHO OFFERS THE SACRIFICE; JESUS IS THE VICTIM WHO IS OFFERED; HIS BLOOD FLOWS OVER THE ALTAR OF THE CROSS

WHEN THE VEIL OF THE TEMPLE WAS RENT IN TWO AT THE DEATH OF JESUS IT WAS A SIGN THAT THE OLD TESTAMENT SACRIFICES WOULD COME TO AN END. IT WAS A SIGN THAT THE JEWISH PRIESTHOOD WOULD COME TO AN END.

IN JERUSALEM TODAY THERE IS NO TEMPLE. THE TEMPLE WAS DESTROYED BY THE ROMANS IN 70 A.D. A MOSQUE NOW OCCUPIES THE SITE OF THE TEMPLE.

BECAUSE THERE IS NO TEMPLE THERE IS NO ALTAR OF SACRIFICE.

AFTER THE DESTRUCTION OF THE TEMPLE IN JERUSALEM THE JEWS DISPERSED TO THE FOUR CORNERS OF THE EARTH. BECAUSE OF INTER-MARRIAGE, YOU CAN NO LONGER IDENTIFY A      TRIBE OF LEVI OR THE PRIESTLY LINE OF AARON.

THE PRIESTHOOD OF THE OLD TESTAMENT IS OVER. THE LONG BIBLICAL HISTORY OF ANIMAL SACRIFICE IS ENDED. 

WE READ IN THE BOOK OF HEBREWS THAT THE PRIESTHOOD OF JESUS CHRIST REPLACES THE PRIESTHOOD OF LEVI AND AARON.

THE HOLY SACRIFICE OF THE MASS REPLACES THE ANIMAL SACRIFICES IN THE JEWISH RELIGION.

IF A BORN-AGAIN-CHRISTIAN SAYS TO YOU: “THE MASS DIDN’T ORIGINATE WITH JESUS AND THE APOSTLES.THE MASS WAS INVENTED IN THE MIDDLE AGES.” ASK THAT PERSON IF HE HAS READ THE 24TH CHAPTER OF ST. LUKE’S GOSPEL. 

IN THAT CHAPTER ST. LUKE WRITES AN ACCOUNT OF HOW THE DISCIPLES MET JESUS ON THE WAY TO EMMAUS AFTER THE RESURRECTION.  JESUS SITS WITH THEM AS HE EXPLAINS THE SCRIPTURES TO THEM. THIS IS THE LITURGY OF THE WORD.

FOLLOWING THE LITURGY OF THE WORD JESUS BEGAN THE LITURGY OF THE EUCHARIST. ST. LUKE DESCRIBES IT THIS WAY: “NOW WHILE HE WAS WITH THEM AT TABLE, HE TOOK THE BREAD AND SAID THE BLESSING; THEN HE BROKE IT AND HANDED IT TO THEM.”

THE DISCIPLES FELT THEIR HEARTS BURNING AS THEY WITNESSED THE RISEN JESUS OFFERING THE HOLY SACRIFICE OF THE MASS ON THE WAY TO EMMAUS.

IT IS CLEAR IN THE GOSPEL OF ST. LUKE, IN THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES AND IN THE WRITINGS OF THE EARLY CHURCH THAT THE LITURGY OF THE WORD AND THE LITURGY OF THE EUCHARIST WERE ALREADY BEING OFFERED IN THE FIRST CENTURY.

THE HOLY SACRIFICE OF THE MASS WAS NOT AN INVENTION OF THE MIDDLE AGES.

CHRISTIANS WERE CELEBRATING THE SACRIFICE OF THE BODY AND BLOOD OF THE CRUCIFIED AND RISEN JESUS FROM THE VERY BEGINNING.

DO YOU UNDERSTAND WHY, IN THE VESTIBULES OF OUR CHURCH WE HAVE A SIGN THAT SAYS: “YOU ARE ABOUT TO PARTICIPATE IN THE MOST PERFECT FORM OF WORSHIP THE WORLD HAS EVER KNOWN.THE HOLY SACRIFICE OF THE MASS”?

ON THE ALTAR OF EVERY CATHOLIC CHURCH IN THE WORLD THE SON OF GOD, BY HIS HOLY PRIESTHOOD, IS OFFERING THE PERFECT SACRIFICE TO WORSHIP THE FATHER.

YOU AND I HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY EVERY DAY TO OFFER THIS PERFECT WORSHIP TO THE FATHER AT DAILY MASS.