Stay awake with me

This Holy Thursday, I’m thinking back to my first visit to the Church of All Nations at the Garden of Gethsemane in Jerusalem. In it, there’s this impressive mosaic of Jesus praying while his disciples have fallen asleep in the background.

This Holy Week presents some unique opportunities for us to unite ourselves to Jesus’ sorrow during His Passion.

Matthew’s gospel tells us that in the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus was “grieved” and “agitated” – human sentiments many are experiencing now, even if to a wide range of varying degrees.

And even though Jesus’ friends were close by, they weren’t really with him and this greatly saddened him.

Knowing what we have to endure, we would rather not. But if we must, then we want to mature first into the prayer of Michelangelo – “I wish to want what eludes my will” – on the way to echoing Jesus’ prayer, “Not what I want but what You want.”

The Passion narrative is a great drama. It’s the drama of human nature and divine nature. Whenever and in whatever ways we have an opportunity to attune ourselves to the drama of the passion, then we are on our way to appreciating the unfolding of the resurrection and redemption.

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