Summary: We are not complete until we are life-giving, and that means that we, like Jesus, must suffer.
January 13, 2009
Strengths and Weaknesses
We’d better get this one right, because if we don’t, life is pretty miserable. Our strengths are for others; our weaknesses are for our own growth. What we see in Hebrews here is an elaboration of the hymn St. Paul gives us in Philippians chapter 2. Jesus willingly put aside His divine glory and became the lowest of humans, a poor carpenter from a backwater town in Galilee. He suffered and because he obediently suffered the death of a slave, he was crowned with glory and honor. The idea was to bring many of God’s children to the same glory, and so he was the pioneer of salvation, of union with God. A pioneer hacks through the wilderness in order to make a safe path for those who follow. He does the heavy lifting, but that doesn’t mean we get a free ride. We, too, are made perfect–complete–through suffering.
Why? Because our life is not complete until, like Jesus, we become life-giving as well. Jesus was able to give eternal life to us, his brothers and sisters, because He suffered. We will be able to give life to others to the extent we participate in the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus. We do that sacramentally in baptism and every time we engage our hearts and minds at Mass. We do that physically every time we moan and mourn over a student just not getting it, every time we strain to make the Gospel–which we believe because we have learned its truth in the school of suffering and hard knocks–comprehensible to boys who have no real experience of life and who are conned by the media into thinking the good life is a life of pleasure.
The mavens of this culture want nothing to do with the Truth. They constantly tell the Church: "What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God." And that’s why they fight us and try to steal the sheep entrusted to us, because we have come to destroy evil and enthrone the Sacred Heart of Jesus. As we pray together in this Eucharist, we are asking the Spirit to change us so that we can attract others as Jesus attracted them, and to help them understand how they can become life-giving as He is.