The New Testament readings for the fifth Sunday in Lent refer to the priestly role of Christ. The first is from the 9th chapter of Hebrews, speaks of Christ as “an High Priest of good things to come.” The second is from the 8th chapter of John, “Before Abraham was, I am,” which reminds us of the encounter between Abraham and the high priest Melchizedek in Genesis. Thus, in each case, Christ is shown as the eternal present that is, is risen, and was and will be.
That is why the (5) Hierophant is the Arcana of fifth Sunday in Lent; he is the perennial High Priest of the Order of Melchizedek who is before Abraham was and who is identified in the Gospel of Saint John as Christ, the eternal governor and preserver of the collect for this day.
The two offices of governing and preserving apply to both the body and soul of man and are applied in the forms of liturgy and sacrament, of the words of benediction and the offering of bread and wine.
We beseech thee, Almighty God, mercifully to look upon thy people; that by thy great goodness they may be governed and preserved evermore, both in body and soul; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.Book of Common Prayer
Old Testament Reading
And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God. And he blessed him and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth: And blessed by the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand.Genesis 14: 18-20
New Testament Reading
Before Abraham was, I am.John 8: 58
The (5) Hierophant raises his right hand in liturgical benediction while his left hand holds up the sacramental cross of Salem – that is the cross of Melchizedek, the king of Salem, or the righteous King of Peace, which denotes the seven sacraments in it’s seven finials.
Scindite corda vestra et non vestimenta vestra et convertamini ad Dominum Deum vestrum.
Adorate Dominum in decore sancto.Rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God. Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.