See how tenderly the angels comfort Jesus in his anguish. He longed for such compassion from his friends, but they couldn’t do it. They disappeared into a panacea of sleep. We rely on Jesus to be with us in everything, but will we be with him in all he must endure?
One Maundy Thursday, Jesus turns to me and says, “Esther, stay with me.”
I swallow hard and ask God for the grace to be able to be with him. Then I close my eyes and imagine myself in the Garden of Gethsemane.
Jesus is about to be betrayed and his heart is heavy with sorrow. Peter, James and John are asleep, deaf to his painful pleading. I want to put my hands over my ears. It’s heart-wrenching to hear Jesus so deeply distressed. He paces and cries out, “Please… Father… take this cup from me.” He falls on his knees, covers his face with his hands and wails.
“God, do something!” No sooner have I said the words when angels come and comfort him.
I ask God, “Can I go and comfort him too?”
“Go,” God says.
I run to Jesus and wrap my arms around him. He clutches on to me so tightly I can barely breathe. He’s trembling. Tears soak into my shirt.
After a long time he sits back and looks me in the eyes. “My Father has asked me to go to the cross and die for you,” he says wiping his cheeks. “And I will go.”
“Don’t do it for me,” I say. “Am I really worth it?”
“Are you worth it?” He shakes his head. “How could you be with me all this time and still not know that you are the treasure of great price, the pearl that I have sold everything for? The thought of not being with you forever is what convinced me to say yes. I will do it for you and for them (he looks at the sleeping disciples) and for all.”
I touch his face and kiss his wet cheek. I hold his hands and rub the spot where the nails will enter.
Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.
Stay here and keep watch with me.” –Matthew 26:38 (NIV)
Maundy Thursday reflection:
- Will you keep Jesus company this week?
- See what unfolds when you do.