Benedictine University and’s Mark Kurowski reflects on how Jesus is perfectly suited to talk to God for us, especially because he is like some weird dude named “Melchizedek”.  Listen to this podcast of his reflection for the Fourth Sunday of Lent and send us a comment . Please read Hebrews 5:5-10. (The graphic in the picture does not literally reflect the content of the reflection.  It is meant to peak the interest of readers).

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For Benedictine University and, this is Mark Kurowski with a reflection for Sunday, 3/25/2012The 5th Sunday of Lent.

Please pause this audio and read Hebrews 5:7-10.
Jesus is our great High Priest.  He is the One who represents the people to God and God to the people.  He is inordinately qualified to do so.  He is the Divine Son, of “Father, Son and Holy Spirit.”  He is the very human son of Mary, daughter of Anna, wife of Joseph.
Even though we know these things to be true, when you imagine Jesus, what are the qualities about which you think first; without-sin, able to overcome death, and impervious to temptation?  We stress heavily the divinity of Christ.  Although that is good, because it reminds us that we are not Christ, there is some danger that we emphasize Jesus in such a way that he becomes inaccessible, beyond our reach.
     When Sandi and I had babies, I noticed early on that we needed to reach out to them.  They were not going to reach out to us, at first. They were unable to lift up their arms intentionally.  They were unable to utter sounds to communicate exactly what they understood.  They relied entirely upon us.  I wondered what it was like to be a little baby again.  I used to wonder what it was like to lay down in that little crib looking up at these big faces.  Was it like the crazy mirrors at the county fair?
Nonetheless, we are like those babies.  God is divine.  There is no way for us to reach up to him.   But as an example of parenthood, the Father in heaven reached down to us.  The Son, the second person of the Trinity, the one from “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,” was sent to us.  He is called by St. John in his Gospel, “the Word.”  How apt is the idea of Jesus being the Divine Communication!
     A couple came to a priest one day to have him save their marriage.  The woman said, “Father, when my husband comes home, he goes right to the chair, turns on a ball game and doesn’t hear a thing I say.  The other day, I asked him if he thought that the floor lamp looked good in the right corner of the room.  He said, ‘left, left.’  Then I asked him how it looked again and he said, ‘just a little more, just a little more’.  When I told him that the lamp wouldn’t go any further, he yelled, ‘Hole in one!  He shot a hole in one!’  Sometimes I feel like we are two different species.”
Now this could be the same thing with humanity and God.  God is divine.  We cannot reach him.  His communication can seem muddled and incomprehensible to us.  We felt, and can feel, like there is no common ground between us.  God knows that.  In any situation where there is good communication, the two parties need to talk AND listen to each other in a language which is understandable to both.  As far as the husband and wife are concerned, they need to do more work.  But as far as the communication between God and humanity goes, God has given us the perfect language with which to communicate with him: the Divine Word, Jesus the Christ.
Jesus is the combination of the Son from, Father, Son and Holy Spirit and the humanity of Mary.  In Him there is both humanity and divinity.  He can talk to God in a language that is too deep for us to understand.  We say that he “intercedes for us at the right hand of the Father.” He can turn and talk to us in a language that is perfectly understandable to us. He was “born of the Virgin Mary and became human.”
     In Jesus there are also two other things.  He is the Son of David through Joseph’s adoption, and therefore heir of the Kingship of Israel.  He is also the God picked priest chosen by God, as priests and pastors are.  So, not only can he communicate to us in our own language, he is our King and our High Priest.
Jesus is like Melchizedek as the passage from Hebrews states.  No one knew what Melchizedek’s beginning was.  He was a man with no beginning.  So is Jesus.  Jesus is a man whose beginning is before all creation.  When Abraham gave his tithe, he gave it to a man who was both King and priest, the only one in the story from Genesis who had a title higher than Abraham.  Melchizedek has no end specified in Genesis.  Although Melchizedek was not a descendant of Aaron, as all priests would be, Abraham offered his tithe to Melchizedek who offered it to the “God most high.”
Like Melchizedek, Jesus is the eternal King of the universe, who alone is High Priest.  His title is above all people for he is both human and divine.  His beginning has no point in time, and he will never have an end.  Jesus is a High Priest who is able to intercede for God to the people, because he is divine.  He is able to intercede for the people to God because he is human.
Now, let’s think about one more thing in this picture. Jesus is able, the passage from Hebrews says, to be the perfect high priest because “he learned obedience through what he suffered.”  Now this is the startling part of this passage, but all the more helpful.  How is it that this Lord who we understand as without-sin, able to overcome death, and impervious to temptation would “learn” anything?    He is divine, right?
     Yes, he is Divine.   But, we so often focus on Jesus’ divinity that we forget he was human, too.  He did not sin, but he was tempted.  You know what it feels like to be tempted.  He suffered excruciating pain, but did not give in.  You know how easy it is to give in when people begin to hurt your body.  He asked that another way be used, but he was denied by God.  You know how hard it is to have your will changed to that of the Father in Heaven.  He is truly our High Priest.  He is one of the people.  He is one of us.
So often we forget that the One who died on the Cross did so willingly in the end, but suffered the horrible realization that it was going to happen and it was going to be painful.  He can speak to God on your behalf in a way that no other can.  He is able to commiserate and sympathize with your pain and hurt. He is able because he is human.  You can fully trust him with your pains and hurts.
     You know, in some circumstances, it is not what you know but who you know.  When it comes to intercession, we know the One who is able to understand our pains and communicate them in a divine way to the Father in Heaven.  O How Wonderful!  He can speak with us and the Father.  We have access to unlimited divine grace.  We have the security of trusting that the one who calls us to suffer and die to ourselves has done it before.  We have the assurance of knowing that the one who calls us to follow him was like us in every way and was resurrected.  We shall be resurrected one day, too.
So, as we go out to live our faith, we have someone to talk about.  We have one who is like us in every way, but is also like the Father in every way.  When it comes to speaking to God, we should offer up our prayers through Jesus Christ.  We should offer up our prayers through the Son who knows how to talk our talk, walk our walk, live our life, die our death and rise to eternal life taking us with him all the way.
When it comes to communing with God in the Holy Eucharist, we have someone who is the bread and is the cup who is able to commune with us as God and take us to God in his humanity.
As well, Jesus is waiting for those who don’t know who he is.  They may think that Jesus is only this divine character who impinges on our ability to live life like we want it.  They may see who they think Jesus is from afar.  But Jesus isn’t unlike us.  He is like us in every way, except that he is also God in every way.  When we hear our friends who do not believe in Jesus Christ as the Savior of the World, we need to gently affirm that Jesus is not who they think he is: he is so much more.
Take the message that Jesus is God and human.  He is the High Priest chosen of God, by God and for God to bring humanity closer to God.   It is a message that can heal the hearts of those who think that God has forgotten them.  It is a message for you and for your family, and for your friends.  It is a message that you are called to go out and deliver by virtue of your baptism.  Jesus, our High Priest is there for you!  Amen?  Amen.
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