The writer of the Letter to the Hebrews was big on letting his readers know that Jesus, though He is God, experienced all the human stuff that we all go through. He wanted them to know that Christ did not get out of this world scott free, but that He suffered. In the Gospel reading from Mark 1, we see the people recognizing the authority of Jesus, even over unclean spirits.
In our first reading from Hebrews 2, we read, “For it was fitting that he [God]…should make the leader to their salvation perfect through suffering.” Very interesting, isn’t it? First of all, Jesus, the Son of God, was already perfect, right? He didn’t need to be “made perfect.” Yet the author tells us that Jesus was “made perfect” through suffering. His point is that suffering has a purpose. That, as Jesus learned through suffering, so can we.
We often find it difficult to see the purpose in suffering. You’ve heard the term “needless suffering.” There certainly is that. When someone causes an innocent person to suffer because of wrong actions, that is needless suffering. But there is no such thing as “purposeless suffering.” All suffering has a purpose. And that purpose should be to help us accede to the will of God; that we, too, might be made “perfect through suffering.”
Father, help us to embrace our sufferings as a means to draw closer to you. May we always seek out your purpose in our suffering. Amen.