Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Mount of Olives

There are still olive trees on part of the area where Jesus went with his disciples after the Last Supper. It is from this mount that we had a beautiful view of Jerusalem. I have a picture from there of an olive tree with an enormous trunk that looks like it's old enough to have sheltered Jesus and fed him. (I still cannot transfer my pictures onto this blog.) I found it deeply moving to be where Jesus did some heart-felt praying the night before he died.
Jesus knows that his enemies are closing in on him and that great suffering threatens. He asks the disciples to stay awake and watch with him, goes on alone, and prays,"My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet not what I will but what you will." The wording of this prayer is pretty much the same in Mark and Luke. Despite his reluctance and fear Jesus wants to line his will up with his Father's will, to want only what his Father wants. I feel sad when I imagine the loneliness Jesus must feel when he returns and finds that his disciples have fallen asleep.
He begs Peter to stay awake and goes off alone a second time to pray. This time it is only Matthew who gives words to the prayer, "My Father,if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done." Those last four words, exactly the same in Matthew's version of the Lord's Prayer, reverse the words we say everytime we sin, "My will be done." Each time we pray the "Our Father" we make our own the prayer of Jesus in Gethsemane and let Jesus help us reverse our sinful ways by sharing with us his will to want always what his Father wants.

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