Thursday, January 24, 2013

Jesus The High Priest: Is suffering necessary?

From Hebrews 5: “Every high priest is taken from among men and made their representative before God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. He is able to deal patiently with the ignorant and erring, for he himself is beset by weakness and so, for this reason, must make sin offerings for himself as well as for the people. No one takes this honor upon himself but only when called by God, just as Aaron was. In the same way, it was not Christ who glorified himself in becoming high priest, but rather the one who said to him: ‘You are my son; this day I have begotten you;’ just as he says in another place: ‘You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.’ In the days when he was in the flesh, he offered prayers and supplications with loud cries and tears to the one who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered; and when he was made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him, declared by God high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.”


“Every high priest is taken from among men and made their representative before God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins.” Henceforth, Jesus, Son of God, incarnate, was taken from among men and made our representative before God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. We see this done at every Mass in the Eucharist. Jesus is, therefore, able to deal patiently with the ignorant and erring, for He Himself was beset by the weakness of human flesh, although He never sinned. Because He was without sin, He did not have to make sin offerings for Himself; He only made a sin offering for us-- Himself.

No high priest takes the honor of high priest upon himself but only when called by God. In the days when Jesus was in the flesh, He offered prayers and supplications with loud cries and tears to the one who was able to save Him from death. He prayed in the Garden that the cup be taken from Him but “not my will be done, but Thine;” but I believe that these prayers and supplications with loud cries and tears were not for Himself but for us.

Because of His reverence, He was heard; His prayers and supplications were answered. Son though He was, He learned obedience from what He suffered. When He was made perfect, He became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey Him. We also learn obedience through suffering. If we do not suffer, we better be fearful of our salvation. For this reason, we endure suffering with joy: He is sanctifying us.  T.T.


This theological reflection courtesy of the parishioners of St Paul Catholic Church in Pensacola, Florida: stpaulcatholic.net