He learned obedience


The Letter to the Hebrews in the First Reading makes a very striking and instructive declaration about Jesus as the High Priest, namely, that “Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered” (v 8). Before this, the author says that when Jesus lived as a human being, he offered prayers and supplications with loud cries and even tears… (v 7). These words remind us that Jesus did not live an easy life even though he was the Son of God. As a human being, he also had to lift up his hands in prayer, present his petitions to the Father, expressing them with all his might, asking that his prayers would be heard. Even Jesus had no certainty in what he was asking, although the text continues that he was heard because of his godly fear. As we also grow up, we also learn obedience through what we suffer. At first, we probably thought we were entitled to anything, especially if we had worked for it. But sooner or later, we realized that we were not granted all that we asked for. We learned to be patient, to wait, and even to accept that our efforts are not always rewarded or our pleas not always granted. This is the kind of obedience that is asked of us. We can express our wishes to God with all our force, but in the end, as Jesus says in Gethsemane, “Not my will but yours be done” (Lk 22:42; Mt 26:39; Mk 14:36; Jn 6:38).

FIRST READING • Heb 5:1-10
Brothers and sisters: 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.

Gospel • Mk 2:18-22
The disciples of John and of the Pharisees were accustomed to fast. People came to Jesus and objected, “Why do the disciples of John and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?” Jesus answered them, “Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them they cannot fast. But the days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast on that day. No one sews a piece of unshrunken cloth on an old cloak. If he does, its fullness pulls away, the new from the old, and the tear gets worse. Likewise, no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the skins are ruined. Rather, new wine is poured into fresh wineskins.”

Source: “365 Days with the Lord 2023,” St. Paul’s, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 632-895-9701; Fax 632-895-7328; E-mail: publishing@stpauls.ph; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.