Monday, March 22, 2010

Jesus in Gethsemane while the Disciples Sleep

Today's Passion Reading (St. Mark 14:32-42) contains some mysteries: why does Jesus pray alone, and leave his disciples to pray alone? Why does he first chide them for sleeping, then say, "Sleep on now, and take your rest," and then immediately, "Rise up, let us be going, behold, my betrayer is at hand"? And finally, how can Jesus' will be at odds with his Father's will? Even as man, his will is in perfect alignment with his Father's. So how can there be a "not as I will, but as thou wilt" in his prayer?

The answer to the third mystery may provide the other answers as well. Jesus is in a deep quandry: his Father's will as that he take the "cup" which the Father has prepared for him, but that cup is a cup of wrath (cf. Psalm 75). In order to do his Father's will he must become odious to his Father, for in this he takes upon himself what our sins have incurred. And thus his passion enables us to rest: he prays, his disciples rest; finally, he tells them to sleep on now, and then to rise up; a token of the blessed sleep of death in Christ, followed by resurrection.

The sermon.

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