Day 321: Jesus' Prayer in the Garden

Luke 22:29-46 Christ, as a man, was struck with physical pain, fear, and anxiety over what was soon to happen to him. Although fully God, he is also fully man and, therefore, had human reactions in the face of his Passion and Death. Despite his agony, he placed himself in the Father’s hands and abandoned himself to the fulfillment of the Father’s will. The Father did not take away what Christ had to endure but strengthened him to face his Passion. Christ’s example in the Garden of Gethsemane serves as a reminder that we should turn to prayer and submit ourselves completely to God’s will, who will never fail in strengthening or consoling us. (CCC 532, 2600, 2605-2607, 2746, 2824)

Ch 22:39 Mount of Olives: The Mount of Olives and its Garden of Gethsemane are possible locations as they are a short distance east of Jerusalem.

Ch 22:40 Only through a serious commitment to daily prayer can we overcome the temptation to reject the Cross. (CCC 2612, 2725-2728)

Ch 22:47-53 It is ironic that Judas betrayed Christ with a kiss, a symbol of friendship, here used as a signal for the arresting soldiers. Christ, in contrast, healed the slave’s ear, thus showing compassion even for those who come to arrest him. (CCC 2262, 2303)

Ch 22:54-62 Peter’s threefold denial, which was foretold by Christ (cf. Lk 22:31-34), resulted from presuming his own fidelity by virtue of his own efforts and his failure to pray with Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane. Peter would grow in strength and courage after experiencing profound sorrow and repentance for his triple denial. (CCC 1429)

Ch 22:63-71 Lacking the clarity of faith to believe in Christ, the elders and chief priests considered his words blasphemous. (CCC 443)

Ch 22:66-71 Council: The Sanhedrin.

If I tell you...answer: Christ evoked Jeremiah’s response to King Zedekiah (cf. Jer 38:15). Jeremiah, like Christ, was accused of being a false prophet and was tried by both religious and civic leaders. 

You say that I am: Christ’s response was understood by the Sanhedrin as an affirmative answer to their question. His accusers in the Sanhedrin could not accept that the Messiah was actually the Son of God. (CCC 443, 663)

Ch 23:2 The crime of inciting revolt was punishable by death, and the accusation placed Christ on a par with Barabbas, who was charged with sedition as well as murder. (CCC 596)

Ch 23:3 King of the Jews: The wise men from the East who visited the newborn Christ accorded him this title. Pilate was thinking of a king in the political sense, which Christ clearly was not. This is made even more explicit by Christ’s words in John, “My kingship is not of this world” (Jn 18:36). (CCC 528)

Ch 23:3-12 Christ was questioned by Herod Antipas, son of King Herod the Great, who had ordered the killing of infant males at the time of the Birth of Christ. Christ’s mission on earth will end as it began, under the sign of persecution. (CCC 530, 600)

Ch 23:16 Other ancient authorities add verse 17: “Now he was obliged to release one man to them at the festival.”

Ch 23:26-49 In Luke’s account of the Crucifixion, we find the ultimate example of love. Christ’s Passion includes every virtue that we can emulate, especially in the face of suffering and adversity. While he processed to the site of his Crucifixion and Death, he nevertheless took time to comfort others, to forgive his persecutors, to pray, to announce salvation to the repentant thief, and to commend himself to the hands of the Father. A crowd of onlookers and even the Roman centurion were moved to repentance and faith in his divinity as a result. (CCC 618)

Ch 23:26 Under Roman law, civilians could be ordered to participate in temporary service as was necessary. This service of Simon of Cyrene symbolizes the Lord’s invitation to his followers to share in his Cross, which oftentimes is unexpected. (CCC 2029)

Ch 23:27-31 Blessed...never nursed: Christ warned the women of the coming destruction of Jerusalem, suggesting that it would be a blessing if they did not have children whom they would have to watch suffer when the time came.

If they do dry: Dry wood is more suited to burning than green wood. Christ, who is innocent, is the green wood, the suffering of the guilty would be far more severe. (CCC 385)

Ch 23:33 Crucified: This type of execution was reserved for the worst of criminals and non-Romans. Nailed to a cross, the victim would die slowly of bleeding and asphyxiation, the latter because the weakened body’s tendency to sag would tend to suppress the respiratory tract. The Cross is the most important and common symbol of Christianity. (CCC 599)

Ch 23:34 Father, forgive them...they do: Christ was merciful to those who executed him, just as he was merciful to the slave whose ear had been cut off during his arrest. His words, spoken from the Cross, show that his prayer and his gift of self are united. The words of Christ remind us to pray for and to forgive even those who persecute us. His death cannot be blamed collectively on the Jews of Christ’s day or their descendants; rather, every person by virtue of Original Sin and actual sins bears responsibility for his Crucifixion. 

Divide his garments: The belongings of the condemned customarily were taken by the attending soldiers. The entire Crucifixion narrative is reminiscent of Psalm 22. (CCC 591, 597-598, 2605, 2635)

Ch 23:38 In Roman crucifixions, it was customary to attach a sign indicating the crime that the criminal had committed. 

Ch 23:39-43 This episode illustrates how the willing acceptance of punishment for one’s offenses can have an expiatory-and therefore redemptive-value. It also implies an immediate judgment after death and a final destiny of the soul either to salvation or damnation. (CCC 440, 1021, 2266, 2616)

Ch 23:45 The curtain in the Temple separated the presence of God in the Holy of Holies from the people. Its tearing from top to bottom signifies that the sacrificial Death of Christ opens the path of the faithful to the very presence of God. Through our union with the resurrected Christ, we enter into the everlasting life of the Blessed Trinity. (CCC 441, 730, 1011)

Ch 23:46 Into your hands I commit my spirit: Christ, evoking Psalm 31:5, was entirely submissive to the will of God even unto Death. His example shows how we, too, can transform our own suffering and death into redemptive acts of love and obedience to our Father in Heaven. (CCC 730, 1011)

Ch 23:50-56 As a member of the Sanhedrin, which had just condemned Christ, Joseph of Arimathea cared for the Body of Christ at great risk to himself. He was indeed dead, his soul having left his body; yet his body and soul would reunite in the Resurrection. In the Incarnation, God the Son assumed human nature and became man. The First Ecumenical Council of Ephesus (AD 431) used the term hypostatic union to describe the union of Christ’s two natures-divine and human-in his one divine Person. (CCC 624, 997)

Ch 23:54-56 Day of Preparation: The required Sabbath rest begins at sundown, so the Body of Christ was placed in the tomb hurriedly and without the full preparation for burial. They would return on Sunday to complete the customary anointing. (CCC 641)

Ch 24:1 First day of the week: Because Christ rose on the first day of the week (Sunday), his Resurrection recalls the creation of the world. From the earliest days, Christians celebrated Sunday as the Lord’s Day and the day of Christian worship. (CCC 1166-1167, 2174, 2184-2185, 2190-2195)

Ch 24:5-6 Why do you seek the living among the dead?: The empty tomb is not incontrovertible proof of the Resurrection but an essential sign of it. (CCC 626, 639-643, 652)

Ch 24:13-35 In some instances, such as on the road to Emmaus, the risen Lord appeared with his glory veiled from the disciples’ eyes. In the Emmaus story, Christ opened the minds of the disciples to the real meaning of the prophetic words of Scripture referring to him. They were reminded that the prophets foretold the events that they had recently witnessed. Christ took the opportunity to explain why he had to suffer and die in order to be glorified. (CCC 601-602, 643)

Ch 24:25-27 The breaking of the covenant through sin left the human race subject to death and in need of purification. Only by Christ’s Death and Resurrection could this purification be achieved. (CCC 112-113, 554-555, 572-573, 645, 710)

Ch 24:30-31 Took...blessed...gave: Note the resemblance of this sequence to the Last Supper narrative (cf. Lk 22:19). The travelers to Emmaus only came to realize Christ was present “in the breaking of the bread.” (CCC 112, 659, 1329, 1345-1347)

Ch 24:34 Appeared to Simon: Because Peter was the head of the Church and was called to strengthen the faith of the community, his testimony of having seen the risen Lord carried great credibility within the community. (CCC 552, 641, 644, 645)

Ch 24:36-43 Christ’s appearance to his disciples in the Upper Room provided further evidence of his Resurrection. He showed them the scars of his Passion and even ate in front of them. He was not solely spirit but had a material body, albeit a glorified one. This testimony refutes any conjecture that his appearance was illusory or metaphorical and also teaches us about the nature of our own resurrected bodies. (CC 644-645, 999-1000, 2605)

Ch 24:44-49 Much as he did for the disciples on the way to Emmaus, Christ opened his Apostles’ minds to the meaning of Scripture. He commissioned them to go forward and preach repentance and salvation to all people but told them to wait for “the promise of my Father”-the Holy Spirit whom he would send. Once receiving the power of the Holy Spirit, Christ’s disciples would initiate the Church’s work of evangelization or spreading the Good News to every corner of the world. (CCC 108, 572, 627, 730, 981, 1118-1122)

Ch 24:50-53 In ascending into Heaven Body and Soul, his humanity entered into divine glory; we will also have a share in that glory in our own resurrection at the end of time. (CCC 659)

(*The Didache Bible RSV-CE Ignatius Edition, 2006)

The Curses of Adam 

The Curses of Israel 

The Servant of the Lord 

Act 4: Jesus’ Resurrection 

Emmaus Road 

“You Are Witnesses of These Things” 

(*Walking With God: A Journey Through The Bible by Tim Gray and Jeff Cavins)

Key Event 62: Passion (Luke 22:39-23:56)

Jesus' Passion brings salvation history to its climax, atoning for the sins of the world and inaugurating the New Covenant.  Jesus is the new Adam, who overcomes the curse of death and reconciles us with God.  Jesus completes what Isaac prefigured (see Gen 22), demonstrating the depth of his love by laying down his life for friends.

Key Event 64: Resurrection (Luke 24:1-12)

Jesus' Resurrection marks the beginning of the new creation.  His risen body is both heavenly and visible--he is no longer bound by space and time, yet he can be seen and touched (see Lk 24:36-42).  His Resurrection is the pledge and foreshadowing of the resurrection of all who believe in him (see Jn 11:25-26; 1 Cor 15:21-22).

Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Father in Heaven we give you praise. Thank you so much. Thank you for your Son. Thank you for the gift of your Spirit that you promised, by your Son, to the Apostles and to your Church, to us. We ask that you please, in the name of your Son Jesus Christ, please send your Holy Spirit upon us now, this day. We pray for you, Lord. We pray for your Spirit to come upon us. And we pray for your name to be known upon this earth. We pray for your will to be done in our lives and in this, your world. May your Kingdom come, Father. May your Kingdom come in our day. In this moment, may your Kingdom come now and forever in Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.”