In the days when Christ 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,
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. (Heb 5:7-9)
Obedience is one of the hardest disciplines for anyone to embrace.
I always get a kick out of wedding rehearsals. The parents always say, “Make sure you say ‘obey’ in the vows!” Everyone laughs, except for the bride or groom who will say, “No Way!”
In religious life, of the three vows that a brother or sister will make – poverty, chastity, and obedience – the vow that many admit to being the most difficult is obedience.
In the priesthood, we make promises upon our ordination to pray the Liturgy of the Hours, to embrace celibacy, and to obey our ordaining bishop and all of his successors. As with religious, many priests will claim that obedience is the most difficult.
Jesus knew the pain of obedience. He struggled with the will of His Father. In the letter to the Hebrews, we hear that Jesus learned obedience from what He suffered and, because of that, He became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey Him.
The Gospel at today’s Mass shows Jesus struggling with God’s will for Him. Yet, Jesus acknowledged that the fulfillment of God’s will was the very reason for Him becoming a man.
In the agony in the garden, Jesus’ struggle will reached its very culmination when He asked that the cup of pain, suffering and death pass Him by. But he ended that request by saying, “Not my will, but thine be done.”
That is a great lesson for each and every one of us.
We, too, struggle with God’s will, generally on a daily basis. This world in which we live shouts out quite loudly in its attempt to get us to stray from God’s will. We need to learn obedience.
The problem with that is it goes against our very nature.
Humans do not appear to like to obey. We do not want to obey because we want to be the ones in charge. We want to be obeyed.
We need to remember that we are not the ones in charge. God is.
We also need to remember that God calls us to do His work. We have the perfect example of obedience in the example of Jesus. Let us, in turn, become examples of humble obedience to the people in our lives this day.
FAITH ACTION: Jesus was troubled in spirit because He knew that the end was fast approaching. However, instead of running from the will of His Father, He embraced His Father’s will. Has there been a particular responsibility you have been avoiding? Embrace it today.