“In the priest Melchizedek we see prefigured the sacrament of the sacrifice of the Lord, according to what divine Scripture testifies, and says, ‘And Melchizedek, king of Salem, brought forth bread and wine’ (Gn 14:18).” — St. Cyprian of Carthage

The mysterious figure Melchizedek is the first person the Bible explicitly calls “a priest.” Furthermore, like Abel and Abraham, Melchizedek offers a sacrifice that is pleasing to God. Unlike Abel and Abraham, however, Melchizedek offers a sacrifice of bread and wine and gives the blessing of “the God Most High.” Finally, Melchizedek is not only a priest, but a king. He is understood by many to be the king of Salem (Jerusalem). Melchizedek’s sacrifice brings peace and restores the soul with joy and gladness. This is in the order of Christ’s priesthood! Thus the Letter to the Hebrews says of Jesus, “You are a priest forever / according to the order of Melchizedek” (7:17). The gifts of the true High Priest, who gives his body and blood, have for us the appearance of bread and wine, those elements once offered by the royal priest Melchizedek in thanksgiving to the Most High God.


Blessed are you, Lord God Most High, for you have created heaven and earth. The bread and wine we offer you are signs of your goodness. May these elements, which be- come for us the body and blood of Christ, bring to us the peace of your heavenly kingdom. Amen.


O God, who in this wonderful Sacrament have left us a memorial of your Passion, grant us, we pray, so to revere the sacred mysteries of your Body and Blood that we may always experience in ourselves the fruits of your redemption. Who live and reign with God the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever.

-Collect for the Feast of Corpus Christi, composed by St. Thomas Aquinas