This Sunday began Holy Week. The week where we reflect on the great mystery of our salvation won for us by Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection from the dead. While praying Morning prayer today I was struck by the antiphon: Jesus said: My heart is nearly broken with sorrow; stay here and keep watch with me.
This begs the question: Why is Jesus’ heart broken? To answer this question we have to briefly consider what the whole earthly mission of Jesus Christ was about. Jesus came to the world not to condemn it, but to “proclaim the Father to the world.” In other words, Jesus has come to preach the good news of the Father’s love. This is made evident when we look at the Gospels in totality. In every Gospel we have a plethora of stories where Jesus, by his own divine initiative goes out to the margins: the poor, the sick, the outcast (either due to disease or sinfulness) to show them love. Jesus not only goes to sinners but he searches them out (ex: woman at the well in John 4). He goes to bring them healing love and to call them back to their Father.
So again, why is Jesus sad in the Garden at Gethsemane? The answer is simple. Jesus wants nothing more than to show the world the great gift of God’s love for us but his message has been rejected; not just by the Jewish authorities but even us! Because “all have sinned and are deprived of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Consequently, “He was in such agony and he prayed so fervently that his sweat became like drops of blood falling on the ground” (Luke 22:44). In this moment, Jesus recognizes he needs to go further to preach the love of the Father. He realizes, that to find more sinners he needs to go into their death to bring them to new life by his resurrection. Saint Paul writes, “we were indeed buried with him through baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live in newness of life” (Romans 6:4).
This week we celebrate the mystery of the gift our salvation. Before Easter, it is a great time for us to reflect on Jesus’ search for sinners. This means even Jesus’ search for me. Where is the darkness in my life that I need to let the light of Christ enter into? Where do I need to die to sin to live in Christ? Further, we can reflect on how we can be with Jesus in this time of his suffering and death? We do this by being Christ to others. By being witnesses of his love to the world. In this way we participate in his mission to bring souls back to the Father. Let us remember all of these beautiful truths this week: the great gift of being found by Him through his death and resurrection, and the gift of having so great of a Father in heaven who desires nothing more than to have a loving relationship with us. Let yourself be moved by Jesus’ sorrow to greater love of him this week.