Commenting on Psalm 109, “The Messiah, king and priest,” during Wednesday’s general audience, Pope John Paul II reminded Christians that the clash between good and evil continues in history.
Speaking about the Psalm that is read every Sunday during vespers, the Pontiff said that in its first part there is an “oracle by God directed to the sovereign of Jerusalem whom the psalmist calls ‘my Lord.’ The oracle proclaims the enthronement of the descendent of David ‘at the right hand’ of God.”
“In the distance,” he continued, “hostile forces are seen, which are nevertheless offset by a victorious conquest.” There is a “general contrast between the project of God who operates through His chosen people, and the plans of those who would like to affirm their hostile and abusive power.”
“Therefore,” he added, “there is the eternal clash between good and evil which occurs in the events of history, through which God manifests Himself and speaks to us.”
The Holy Father then referred to the second part of the Psalm which “contains a priestly prophesy in which King David is once again the protagonist. Guaranteed by a solemn divine oath, royal dignity becomes one with priestly dignity.”
“The reference to Melchizedek, priest-king of Salem, or Ancient Jerusalem, is therefore the way to justify the special priesthood of the king alongside the official levitical priesthood of the temple of Zion.”
“The Letter to the Hebrews,” he concluded, “begins with this prophesy: ‘You are a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek,’ in order to illustrate the special and perfect priesthood of Jesus Christ.”