Just outside the ancient city of Jerusalem nestled in the valley is a grove of olive trees. Here, under the night sky, Jesus experienced His agony in the garden, as His disciples waited nearby.
|Garden of Christ's Agony|
Tonight we too were here, in this very place. Sitting under the olive trees in the garden, we looked through their branches and into the dark sky, contemplating this scene in the gospel. Imagine Jesus here, praying, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me; still, not my will, but yours be done” (Lk 22:42). Deep down He knew this was the Father’s will, but still in His humanity, He also knew the great limits He would be stretched to in the hours that would follow. Yet, despite the trials unto death, Jesus wanted one thing: “Thy will be done.” In His humanity He trusted the Father with every ounce of his being, and low and behold, on the third day He rose from the dead, bringing salvation to all of humanity.
After this, we made our way into the Church of the Agony adjacent to the garden, for an hour of adoration before our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. As the hour came to a close, we made a Eucharistic procession back through the garden outside. The priest led us, with our Eucharistic Lord held high in the monstrance. Imagine, here in this garden, the Lord was arrested, and taken away to His death, while the disciples followed with fear and sadness. Now tonight our Lord returned to this garden, in the Eucharist – and this time, as He led the procession, we as His disciples followed Him with confidence and joy.
|Preparing for the Eucharistic Procession|
Each of us, and each of you want nothing more than to be close disciples of our Lord Jesus. Sometimes we will undergo trials in our lives, but don’t think God the Father can’t bring good from it. Here, in Jesus we have both a companion in our suffering, and a mighty God who has conquered evil, winning the reward of eternal life.
Lord Jesus, give us the strength to persevere in following you. As we continue our pilgrimage through this earthly life, unite us more closely to you, so that when we pray the words in the Our Father, “Thy will be done,” we may have the courage to follow through.