From all the scenes in the Passion of Christ, the Agony in the Garden is one we could all deeply resonate with, especially in these trying times. Jesus knew this day would come, and I would like to think that he would have greatly prepared for his passion with calm and inner peace. But here in the garden, we see Jesus afraid, crying out to God the Father in prayer, that if it be possible to take away the cup of suffering that he is about to face, but if not then thy will be done. God the Father does not respond. This must be the most painful moment in Jesus’ life, having enjoyed such a personal and intimate relationship with God the Father his whole life. Now he finds himself alone, in silence, with no response, and his disciples sound asleep, when he may have expected to be with him in his hour of need. Yet Jesus responds, “thy will be done”.
I think it’s easy for us to think of times in our life that we were alone, afraid, helpless, and hopeless. In fact we may be feeling that right now. We may feel as if God has suddenly become quiet in the midst of our suffering, or He may have been silent to you your whole life. It’s so tempting to think this way, that God has abandoned us, that God has abandoned the world and is no longer listening to our prayers, or worse, that God is punishing the world. But it would be wrong to think that God sent His son into the world to just let him suffer and be crucified. I would rather believe that God became man through Jesus because of His love for us. Jesus is grace incarnate, someone who was most innocent and chose to suffer and give up his life to show us the way to salvation. He showed us the way of the cross. The way of embracing suffering.
It may be so difficult to understand why such a loving God would allow us to suffer and why He allows things to be the way they are in the world. But may you find consolation in knowing that during his Passion, Jesus may have thought and felt the same way. And I guess the important message here is that life is suffering. Yet tough life may be suffering, Jesus showed us that it isn’t meaningless. Because the greater lesson here is when we learn to offer our suffering, to choose to suffer for others, that’s how life becomes meaningful. That’s how we learn to live and find happiness in a world of suffering, because we learn to love. And maybe we could see much clearer that most of the suffering in the world is what we inflict upon ourselves or others when we choose to sin. So when you’ve been in agony in your garden and you feel like Good Friday is going to last a bit longer this year, hold on to your cross because it’s a reminder that it always leads to Easter, that we’re and we’ll always rise with the Lord no matter what the circumstances are because “we are Easter people and hallelujah is our song”.