Reflection: The Agony in the Garden
Jesus Prays in Gethsemane
Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here, while I go over there and pray.”
And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.” And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”
And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Again, for the second time, he went away and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.”
And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. So, leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words again. Then he came to the disciples and said to them, “Sleep and take your rest later on. See, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand.”
Imagine yourself kneeling in the Garden of Gethsemane, amongst the ancient olive trees, looking up at the great looming wall of the Temple. You see right above you, the Golden Gate, which was supposed to open to receive the Messiah.
It is shut tight, and is it an optical illusion, or is it real that the wall itself seems to be leaning towards you, ready to fall? The whole power of church and state; utter rejection!
Behind you is the Mount of Olives; even today, there is a wadi that Jesus could have scrambled up, going over the top and quickly getting lost amongst the trees and in the caves.
But he stayed, the hurt of betrayal, the fear of failure, the seeming abandonment by God, and the indifference of the disciples combining in a pressure that almost could not be borne.
No wonder he sweated blood!
Can I stay awake with him now? In my life, what do I need to do to be Christ in the world, to ‘be him’ as he had asked only a short time earlier at his last meal?
Take his hand in yours and feel his commitment despite his pain. Can you make it yours?
Lean into life as he did.
Join Archbishop Christopher Prowse and others on Sunday 18 October for the 2020 Online Marian Procession and Multicultural Mass