Grace: sorrow, compassion, and sham because the Lord is going to His suffering for my sins.
Text for Prayer: Matthew 26:30-46
Reflection:“Let this cup pass from me.” In the Old Testament, the cup symbolized one’s lot in life. The cup could be filled with the wine that makes men’s hearts glad; but it could also be filled with gall. Our hearts tell us that fairness demands that one who has lived a just life should reap the wine of gladness. Yet here is Jesus, already beginning to be abandoned by his apostles, gazing before himself at the bitter cup of the sinner. How could it be that Jesus, who has done no wrong, could reap the just reward of a sinner? Why does Jesus not return to Galilee and peacefully complete the remainder of his years in a quiet carpenter’s life? Why doesn’t He rebel against the Father and refuse the cup?
The Agony in the Garden reveals in stark terms the attitude that Jesus has maintained throughout his earthly ministry. He, the righteous one, in grasping that bitter cup, declares through His actions that God’s will is to be trusted above all things. And God’s will is that His Christ might redeem the world by freely entering into its suffering, even to the ignoble death of the sinner. “Not my will but yours be done.” Pain and sadness fill his heart as he is weighed down by the enormity of the world’s sinfulness. Jesus accepts. He accepts this moment as he has accepted each moment from the Father. Jesus lives life with thanksgiving (eucharistically), offering everything—everything—to the Father.
Praying with this passage, we simply need to gaze upon the scene and be affected. Now is the time to quiet all of our own words. Allow the scene to sink into yourself and allow yourself to be affected by God. Here is Jesus, drinking the sinner’s gall so that we sinners might drink the wine of gladness.
Questions: How is my heart affected by the scene of Christ’s Agony? What is my reaction to Jesus’ total readiness to accept His lot from the Father? Where do I need the help of the Holy Spirit in order to accept the Father’s will?