He Gives Us Strength

Scripture Reading

Since the children share in blood and Flesh,
Jesus likewise shared in them,
that through death he might destroy the one
who has the power of death, that is, the Devil,
and free those who through fear of death
had been subject to slavery all their life.
Surely he did not help angels
but rather the descendants of Abraham;
therefore, he had to become like his brothers and sisters in every way, 
that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest before God
to expiate the sins of the people.
Because he himself was tested through what he suffered,
he is able to help those who are being tested.
(Hebrews 2:14-18)

Scripture Study

2:14 flesh and blood: A Semitic idiom for “human beings” or “human nature”, with some emphasis on man’s weakness and limitations (Mt 16:17; 1 Cor 15:50). partook of the same: The Son of God assumed our mortal nature in order to die and, through this means, to rob the devil of his claim over our lives (Wis 2:24; 1 Jn 3:8; CCC 635, 2602).

2:15 fear of death: Human nature cowers from pain, privation, and death. This can overpower our desire to love and obey God in the face of suffering. Even Jesus feared death as a man; nevertheless, he gave consent to suffering and death out of a reverential fear of God (5:7).

2:16 descendants of Abraham: This could be taken in a biological sense, referring to the family of Israel descended from Abraham, or, more likely, in a Christian sense of the family of Jews and Gentiles who together imitate the faith of Abraham (Rom 4:9–13) and inherit the blessings that Yahweh pledged to the patriarch by oath (Gen 22:16–18; Gal 3:6–29). Either way, the point is that Jesus came to rescue, not angels, but fallen men.

2:17 high priest: The first of many passages in Hebrews that expound the priestly ministry of Christ. The emphasis is on his credentials: as one experienced in human suffering, Jesus is able to show sympathy and mercy to his brothers undergoing their own trials (4:15); as one victorious over temptations, he can give his brothers the grace and help needed to triumph as he did (4:16). to make expiation: I.e., “to wipe away sin”.[1]

Scripture Reflection

Suffering can link a person to Christ in a special and mysterious way. A person who suffers should realize that he is understood by Christ. He will then console him and help him bear affliction. St. John Paul II speaks to this relationship: “The Redeemer suffered in place of man and for man. Every man has his own share in the Redemption. Each one is also called to share in that suffering through which the Redemption was accomplished. He is called to share in that suffering through which all human suffering has also been redeemed. In bringing about the Redemption through suffering, Christ has also raised human suffering to the level of the Redemption. Thus each man, in his suffering, can also become a sharer in the redemptive suffering of Christ.”

We must remember that Christ’s main purpose in undergoing his passion was the Redemption of mankind. But he also suffered in order to strengthen us and give us an example. It is an example of strength to resist harassment by those who seek our downfall; strength to overcome the fatigue we experience in prayer; and fortitude to bear adversity with peace and joy.

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV. 

 

[1]  The Ignatius Catholic Study Bible: The New Testament (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2010), 419.