The bond of marriage is a well-recognized sign of the love of the Father for the Church.  Now consider the Holy Eucharist as a type of marriage bond, a sharing of bodies, between the Son and the Faithful.  Through the following readings, the Faithful may regard the Holy Eucharist as a type of the bond of marriage, as a sign of the love of the Son for the Faithful as individuals.

 

Generations of Christians have recognized the feeding of the five thousand as a type of Eucharistic sharing.  From the Greek, when feeding the five thousand, the bread and fish multiplied in the hands of Jesus as he handed them out.  There is an analogy between Jesus sharing his body and blood with the Faithful and the marriage bond.  Married couples hand over their bodies to demonstrate their love to one another, back to the Godhead.  Similarly, celibates can hand over and consecrate their bodies directly to God, but without human marital intermediaries.  Priestly sacrifice in the following readings reflects the Eucharistic theme.

 

Genesis 14:18-28

Melchizedek was a king offering a sacrifice, both as a priest and as a king.  Melchizedek was not Jewish.  As a Gentile, Melchizedek analogously brings New Testament Gentile Christians into the priesthood of Jesus.  This is a priesthood of a sacrifice of love offered to God, in the spirit of the yet to be sung New Song, “Alleluia—anyway.”

 

The new song of Melchizedek praising the God of Abraham in Genesis bespeaks the married song of love.  The spirit of Abraham does not count sacrifice of a tenth of everything as worth mentioning as a sign of love for Melchizedek praising and blessing God.[1]  Therefore, married couples discount personal sacrifices in the joy that they, too, are able to praise God together.

 

As a king meriting the respect of Abraham, Melchizedek foreshadows the legitimacy of the temple in Jerusalem replacing the tent-covered tabernacle.  Melchizedek also represents legitimating the royal line of David, beginning with Saul to the time of Jesus.  Melchizedek, king of Salem marks a transition from tribal to monarchial Judaism.[2]

 

Psalm 110:1, 2, 3, 4

Psalm 110 is not indexed in the Lectionary.

 

Verse 3

Lectionary (1998):                        the daystar

The Vulgate (circa 410):               luciferum

Douay-Rheims (1582-1610):         the day star (Psalm 109)

King James (1611):                      of the morning

Jerusalem (1966):                        dawn

New American (1970):                  daystar

New Jerusalem (1985):                dawn

 

There is no apparent relationship with Lucifer, the Devil.

 

In verse 3, princely power is a sign of the monarchy arising out of a tribal society.[3]

 

Verse 4b, You are a priest forever, in the line of Melchizedek.”  Who is the you but the Faithful in the holy priesthood of Jesus?  “Alleluia—anyway” is a sacrifice of praise destined for eternity.  Hebrews 7:1-10 explains the account of Melchizedek through the lens of this verse, Psalm 110:4.  This verse is about sacerdotal Holy Orders, the sacrament; this verse is also about the non-sacramental, in the sense of the Seven Sacraments, priesthood of the laity.  In Christianity, everyone offers the sacrifice of self on the altar of the love of God.

 

Unscrambling who is who in the first verse is worth the effort.  The LORD said to my Lord.  The Lectionary LORD means God the Father.  The other Lord must be the House of David to which Jesus, and by extension the Faithful, belong.

 

Do married couples see their spouse as Lord?  Yes.  Sunday, May 23, I attended a Fiftieth wedding anniversary of friends.  The husband said that in his house there was a two-word vocabulary, “Yes Ma’am.”  Therefore, I went into the kitchen to announce the news to a strange man who seemed the same age as the husband.  He and everyone else there had no trouble grasping the vocabulary necessities of fifty years of married accomplishment.  This monarchial bond of unity between spouses bespeaks a mutual victory of love given by God the Father himself.  This victory lasts even as one spouse precedes the other into the arms of the Father.

 

1 Corinthians 11:23-26

Verse 23 is about remembering Jesus.[4]  Jesus can be and is remembered in many different ways, just as married couples can be and are remembered similarly.  The words of consecration, “This is my body that is for you”[5] are appropriate words from spouse to spouse.  They are also appropriate for the martyred classmates of celibate priests and sisters sacrificing themselves for the love of Jesus.  Note that this section of 1 Corinthians has no mention of the resurrection.[6]  The gifts are earthly, unresurrected bodies.

 

Verse 25

Lectionary (1998):                        In the same way

The Vulgate (circa 410):               similiter

Douay-Rheims (1582-1610):         In like manner

King James (1611):                      After the same manner

Jerusalem (1966):                        In the same way

New American (1970):                  In the same way

New Jerusalem (1985):                And in the same way

 

The wine was consecrated not in the exact same way, but in like manner.

 

Verse 26b, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes is similar to those spouse who feel unworthy of one another and cheerfully admit that their spouse has to put up with their foibles.  The marriage meaning is that the various detachments accompanying the bond will end in an everlasting unity in the embrace of the Father.

 

The Gospel is not sanctioning spousal abuse, nor is it proclaiming, “pay, pray, and obey Christianity.”  The Gospel is proclaiming that love is an acceptable sacrifice to the Father, even when that love includes spousal separation, whether though death or otherwise.

 

John 6:51

Married couples can readily regard each other as living bread that came down from heaven.  This is what is meant when people say that a marriage has been made in heaven.  Whoever eats this bread will live forever means that married couples have a way of consuming each other, even to the point of looking like one another as time goes on.  This is the bond of Christian love.

 

 

Luke 9:11b-17

This section of Luke is part of the Transfiguration.[7]  Jesus is exuberant, as he shows forth the glory of the Father in his own being.  Jesus himself hands out the bread and fish.  In the Greek in verse 16, he said…broke the five loaves and the two fish are both in the Greek aorist tense.  The Greek aorist simply means that an act is completed, without any particular sense of sequence.  And gave is in a different Greek tense, the past imperfect.  The Greek contains a continuing sense of the act, meaning that the bread and fish multiplied in the hands of Jesus as he handed them to the disciples.[8]  The deeper meaning is that, through time, the Eucharistic Jesus continues the multiplication of food for the souls of the Faithful.

 

Verse 12       The Greek carries a sense of un-harnessing.

Lectionary (1998):                        find lodging and provisions

The Vulgate (circa 410):               divertant et inveniant escas

Douay-Rheims (1582-1610):         lodge and get victuals

King James (1611):                      and lodge, and get victuals

Jerusalem (1966):                        find lodging and food

New American (1970):                  find lodging and provisions

New Jerusalem (1985):                find lodging and food

 

There is no direct reference to un-harnessing in these translations.

 

Amazingly, these readings pertain to marriage by way of the Holy Eucharist, by way of handing over one’s body.  Melchizedek is about offering sacrifice to God, the sacrifice of the Mass, the sacrifices associated with married love.  Psalm 110 relates the monarchial priesthood of Melchizedek to the eternal priesthood of Jesus, a priesthood extended to all the Faithful and in a special way to those with sacerdotal orders.  First Corinthians is about the Faithful remembering Jesus continuing to offer his sacrificial love through his Eucharistic presence as set forth in Luke.

 

 

For more on sources, besides the footnotes, see the Appendix file.

 



 

[1] Michael S. Moore, “Ruth the Moabite and the Blessing of Foreigners,” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 60, No. 2 (April 2001) 206-207.

 

[2] Antti Laato, “Second Samuel 7 and Ancient Near Eastern Royal Ideology,” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 59, No. 2 (April 1997) 266-267.

[3] J. J. M. Roberts, “The Enthronement of Yhwh and David: The Abiding Theological Significance of the Kingship Language of the Psalms," the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 64, No. 4 (October 2002) 682.

 

[4] Robert J. Daly, S.J., ‘The Soteriological Significance of the Sacrifice of Isaac,” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 39, No. 1 (January 1977), 73-74 and Mark Kiley, “`Lord, Save my Life’ (Psalm 116:4) as Generative Text for JesusGethsemane Prayer (Mark 14:36a)," the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 48, No. 4 (October 1986) 658.

 

[5] For the relevance of “handing over one’s body” without a relationship to marriage, see Jeremy Corley, The Pauline Authorship of 1 Corinthians 13," the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 66, No. 2 (April 2004) 263, 269, 271.

 

[6] John Kloppenborg, An Analysis of the Pre-Pauline Formula 1 Cor 15:3b-5 In Light of Some Recent Literature," the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 40, No. 3 (July 1978) 363.

[7] Robert F. O’Toole, S.J., Luke’s Message in Luke 9:1-50," the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 49, No. 1 (January 1987) 74-89.

 

[8] Maximilian Zerwick, S.J., English Edition adapted from the Fourth Latin Edition by Joseph Smith, S.J., Scripta Pontificii Instituti Biblico—114—Biblical Greek (Roma: Editrice Pontificio Istituto Biblico, 1994) 91.