“Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him. On reaching the place, he said to them, ‘Pray that you will not fall into temptation.’ He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, ‘Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.’ An angel from heaven appeared to him and strenthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.” Luke 22: 39-44
agony is defined as intense feeling of suffering; acute mental or physical pain; extreme pain or anguish; torment; distress. Jesus was in agony when he prayed in the garden of Gethsemane, because he knew what would take place to save us from eternal damnation. he offered his life as the Father willed it for our salvation.
now there are supporting characters in this the greatest story ever told, who played very crucial roles. Judas Iscariot and Peter. Judas betrayed Jesus. Peter denied Jesus three times. both felt deep remorse, shame and sadness after they realized what they had done. Judas found a way out. he hanged hmself to a tree shortly after that infamous kiss of betrayal. Peter also tried to find a way out too. he ran to the tomb where Jesus was buried. Judas became desperate. Peter was hopeful.
we can never emphatize with Jesus’ agony in the garden. mere mortals, in my perception, would never be able to endure what Jesus had to. but all of us can be a Judas or a Peter. we all commit sins and feel intense agony over what we had done, or did not do.
but then again, like Judas, we can ignore the relevance of the Cross and live in agony for the rest of our lives, feel sorry and wallow in the throes of desperation. if we do, then Jesus’ suffering and death on the Cross would be all in vain.
Jesus died because of our sins. we already know that. yet we still commit sins over and over again. but if we truly believe in his promise of redemption and what the Cross stand for, we should run to Him like Peter did. because when we are truly sorry and sincere, his mercy and forgiveness is sufficient and infinite.
as Jesus prayed in the garden, let us put ourselves beside him in union with his suffering, so that His profound agony would have a deeper meaning in our lives.
today is Holy Monday. let us medidate on the agony of Jesus Christ in Gethsemane.
*inspired by “Peter and Judas: A Lesson of Hope and Humility”
by Jennifer Hartline, a grateful Catholic, an Army wife and mother of four precious children (one in Heaven). She is a contributing writer for Catholic Online on topics of Catholic faith, family, Life and politics. She is also a serious chocoholic. Visit her at My Chocolate Heart.