Wednesday of the Tenth Week in Ordinary Time

Today’s readings remind us of the danger of being Marcionites. I suspect that few of us live with that fear, or even know what it means, so I should explain. Marcion was a heretic of the second century who rejected the Old Testament, on the grounds that the “vengeful” deity proclaimed therein was not the same God revealed in Jesus Christ. The Church in turn condemned Marcion and chose to retain and revere the Hebrew Scriptures, seeing in Christ the fulfillment of all that they taught and promised.

Yet Marcion’s teaching remains with us insofar as we are tempted to view Jesus as a mere teacher of universal morality, with no intrinsic connection to a particular people, place, or covenant. The New Testament, especially the Gospels, present Jesus as the fulfillment of all that God had already done and promised for Israel, his chosen people. Still more, Jesus recapitulates-that is, he relives and completes-salvation history. He is the new Adam, because he faces temptation and overcomes it; he is the new Jacob, the ladder upon which the angels ascend and descend; he is the new Moses, who teaches with authority and gives divine law to mankind; he is the new Melchizedek, the priest who offers a wondrous sacrifice under the signs of bread and wine.

June 12th, 2013