I can’t really add much to this song or the scene we read in Mark’s Gospel. If you’ve been reading up until this point, it will have a great impact. If you know the story and not only believe in Jesus, but belong to Him, this will move you in different ways: spiritually, emotionally, psychologically, maybe even physically. Probably all 4.
The theologian, Robert Sokolowski, puts that evening in Garden of Gethsemane this way:
“(Jesus) conquered sin by somehow taking it upon himself…(II Corinthians 5:21)…God’s wrath against sin fell on Christ, who became sin for us. It must have been this aspect of his passion, far more than ‘worldly’ suffering, whether physical or psychological, that Jesus prayed might be kept away from him: “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet, not as I will, but as you will.” (Matthew 26:39). Christ prayed that he not have to drink the ‘cup’ of God’s wrath against sin.
His prayer in Gethsemane is addressed to his Father…these prayers to the Father reveal an agony more profound than anything that could have been caused by the fear of suffering and death. The same distress is expressed in the Lord’s cry of abandonment just before his death, as recorded by Matthew and Mark: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46, Mark 16:34)…none of us could comprehend what it was for (Jesus) to become sin for our sake and to accept God’s judgment of sin as he did. No one could be abandoned by God as Christ was: as ‘made sin for us,’ Christ was abandoned precisely because, as Son, he was one with the Father in holiness, which abhors sin.”*
And so should we all. Just something for us to contemplate on this Holy Thursday, as the shadows fall and hope seems futile. It seems futile, but hope in Christ never is. Easter Sunday, Resurrection Day, is coming. Hold tight. But don’t close your eyes. Be a witness to this unfathomable love. Sure it’s tough to watch, but it’s is nothing compared to the anguish of Jesus Christ. He suffered and died for you. Remember that. Be grateful.
As many affiliated with the Military like to say about fallen Soldiers who selflessly died in combat, Live a life worthy of the sacrifice. But this sacrifice, the passion and death of the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, is so much more than the sacrifice of any mortal person. The sacrifice of Jesus is about salvation, about redemption. Yours and mine. It’s about everlasting life.
Dying like Jesus is certainly worthy of admiration, but living and loving like Jesus is heroic, as well. Let’s rise and through our loving kindness, which only comes from God, make a heaven on earth. At least in our little corner. One candle in the darkness is a start. Your candle makes a difference. Especially, and always, when the Breath of Heaven, the Holy Spirit, fans the flame. Jesus left that Spirit with His Church. God is always available to you. He will make you strong, wise, fearless, sanctified and blessed.
*Robert Sokołowski, Eucharistic Presence:A Study in the Theology of Disclosure. Catholic University Press: Washington, D.C. 1993.