Jesus, the High Priest

Jesus praying in Gethsemane(from The Faith: Reflections on the truths of the Apostles’ Creed from the teaching of Pope Benedict XVI)

The Letter to the Hebrews gave us a profound interpretation of this prayer of the Lord [in] Gethsemane. It says: Jesus’ tears, His prayer, His cry, His anguish, all this is not merely a concession to the weakness of the flesh as might be said. It is in this very way that Jesus fulfilled His office as High Priest, because the High Priest must uplift the human being, with all his problems and suffering, to God’s heights. And the Letter to the Hebrews says: Will all these cries, tears, prayers, and supplications, the Lord has brought our reality to God (see Heb 5:77ff)…

It was in this drama of Gethsemane, where God’s power no longer seemed to be present, that Jesus fulfilled His role as High Priest. And it also says that in this act of obedience, that is, of the conforming of the natural human will to God’s will, He was perfected as a priest.

Furthermore, it … uses the technical word for ordaining a pries.t In this way, He truly became the High Priest of humanity and thus opened heaven and the door to the resurrection.

If we reflect on this drama of Gethsemane we can also see the strong contrast between Jesus  – with His anguish, with His suffering – in comparison with the great philosopher Socrates, who stayed calm, without anxiety, in the face of death, which seems the ideal. We can admire this philosopher, but Jesus’ mission was different. His mission was not this total indifference and freedom; His mission was to bear in himself the whole burden of our suffering, the whole of the human drama.

This humiliation of Gethsemane, therefore, is essential to the mission of the God-Man. He carries in himself our suffering, our poverty, and transforms it in accordance with God’s will. and thus He opens the doors of heaven. He opens Heaven: This curtain of the Most Holy One, which until now man has kept closed against God, is opened through His suffering and obedience….

Dear friends, we have endeavored to understand Jesus’ state of mind at the moment when He experienced the extreme trial in order to grasp what directed His action. The criterion that throughout His life guided every decision Jesus made was His firm determination to love the Father, to be one with the Father, and to be faithful to Him. This decision to respond to His love impelled Him to embrace the Father’s plan in every single circumstance, to make His own the plan of love entrusted to Him, in order to recapitulate all things in  God, to lead all things to Him….

Let us also prepare ourselves to welcome God’s will in our life, knowing that our own true good, the way to life, is found in God’s will, even if it appears harsh in contrast with our intentions. May the Virgin Mother guide us on this itinerary and obtain from her divine Son the grace to be able to spend our life for love of Jesus, in the service of our brethren.

General audience, April 20, 2011

Source:Pope Benedict XVI, compiled by Thigpen, P. (2013) The Faith: Reflections on the truths of the  Apostles’ Creed from the teaching of Pope Benedict XVI. Indiana: Our Sunday Visitor

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One Response to Jesus, the High Priest

  1. Pingback: Jesus, the High Priest | Christians Anonymous

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