In the Holy Bible, we can read about the story of Melchizedek, a priest and a king of unknown origin, and from whom Abraham venerated and paid tithing to. Many biblical scholars believed that Melchizedek is the best representation of Christ. Or must he actually be Christ himself disguising as Melchizedek?
The word “Melchizedek”, when translated to English means “My king is righteous”. The Bible says that Melchizedek was the king of Salem, but there are little-known facts available about his origin and of his fate, except that he was presented as a king and a priest that Abraham venerated and paid tribute to. Melchizedek welcomed and blessed Abraham, and gave him bread and wine, which many biblical scholars believed and interpreted as the forerunner of the Eucharist.
This biblical account of Melchizedek speaks clearly of God’s plan of salvation for humanity. It must be done through Christ Jesus. Christ was there from the beginning, being the firstborn of all creations, and from which through him the world will be delivered from sins and to bring mankind back to God the Father. From that very moment when the first human couple, Adam and Eve, disobeyed God, the plan of salvation was already in place. God allows enmity between the seed of Adam and Eve (Christ) and the Serpent (Satan). The Serpent may bite Christ’s heel, but Christ would crash his head.
But how can the priest function as Christ? Are priests as perfect as Christ too? And who are these priests that we can identify as belonging to the one true Church that Christ has built?
The Apostle Peter, on whom Jesus said he would build his Church, was the first Pope, and history has a record of unbroken line of popes since he assumed such a role. It’s no coincidence why his name is Peter or Petros. There’s a purpose as to why his parents called him by that name, because if we are going to translate the Greek word “Petros” into English, it means “rock”. And the rock suggests something like a “solid foundation”. Christ’s Church was built on a solid foundation and nothing can prevail against it, not even death itself or the gates of hell.
Although priests would like to imitate Christ as best they can, we cannot deny that they too are human. They can experience problems. They get irritated. They make mistakes. They’re tempted. They get tired. They get angry. But the priest, like each and every one of us, is called to become a true testimony of our faith through what he can preach, as well as what he can do.
The priesthood, according to the Holy Roman Catholic Church, is a way to identify with Christ at the most fundamental level. Once a priest receives the sacred orders, he consecrates himself to God in a new way. He becomes a living instrument of Christ, who is the eternal priest himself, so that he can do such a wonderful work of bringing the whole society of men to unite with Heavenly Father.
We can identify the work of the priest as the continuation of the unique work of Christ. This work is achieved pre-eminently in the death and resurrection of Christ, and from which our redemption was won. That is why the priesthood is intimately linked to the Eucharist which remains a living representation of Christ’s death and resurrection.