Reflection Masthead
Issue 150 - Week of Passion - April 2017

         "Pas sionate Generosity: From Gethsemane to Galilee" was the theme of the Ignatian Twilight Retreat at Oblate Renewal Center during this Holy Week. These reflections arose out of Jan's presentation in the first session: "Gethsemane: Anguish and an Angel."  
        You are invited to take time to consider and pray with Jesus' request, "Stay Here, Remain With Me" (video with Taize music) below. 

The Agony in the Garden   
The Agony in the Garden
39 Then going out he went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives, and the disciples followed him. 40 When he arrived at the place he said to them, "Pray that you may not undergo the test." 41 After withdrawing about a stone's throw from them and kneeling, he prayed, 42 saying, "Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me; still, not my will but yours be done." 43 And to strengthen him an angel from heaven appeared to him. 44 He was in such agony and he prayed so fervently that his sweat became like drops of blood falling on the ground. 45 When he rose from prayer and returned to his disciples, he found them sleeping from grief. 46 He said to them, "Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray that you may not undergo the test."
The Betrayal and Arrest of Jesus
47 While he was still speaking, a crowd approached and in front was one of the Twelve, a man named Judas. He went up to Jesus to kiss him. 48 Jesus said to him, "Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?"
From Luke 22:39-48 (NABRE)

Anguish and an Angel   
          Consider Jesus in the Garden of Olives, known as Gethsemane. Jesus is in anguish. We see Jesus who is abandoned by his followers and has to face his hour alone, thus enduring the cross in a particularly agonizing way. Jesus' request, "Remain here" (Mk 14:32), "Keep on watching" is a present imperative of 'gregorein' (Gk) stressing the need of continuance. 'Gregorein' here does involve staying physically awake but also has a sense of religious alertness.
       Jesus asks his Father that the impending suffering, the betrayal, trial, and crucifixion - the cup - be taken from him. His plea is not granted, but rather, an angel is sent to strengthen and comfort Jesus in his anguish. "Nevertheless, not my will but yours be done." This becomes a model of prayer for Christians who face difficulties and sufferings. I offer three questions for your consideration:
       Anguish: When I experience inner anguish, how do I seek strength and peace as Jesus did?
       Angel: How have I experienced the presence, bidden or unbidden, of an angel?
       Gethsemane: "Then going out, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives..." (Lk 22:39) Where is my Gethsemane? What is my custom for praying, intently, that I might enter into the love of God in an intimate way?                             
             -- by Jan

My Soul is Sorrowful
It is the image I cannot shake this Holy Week.
At a meeting last Saturday, Feliberto Pereira gave his report from Southwest Good Samaritan Ministries, an agency with a long record of service to refugees and others in need along the Mexico - U.S. Border. He told of a woman who came to church the previous Sunday who is caring for three children under the age of 8. The children are not related to the caregiver or to each other; each is a U.S. citizen; and each has seen their parents taken away by immigration authorities.
The little one, the caregiver told Feliberto's congregation, was especially confused. She could not understand why her mother had not hugged her before she left. As Feliberto told the story, he raised his hands, wrists held close together. The mother was not able to hug her child because she was handcuffed.
That is the image I cannot shake this Holy Week. Monday evening, as Jan led 90 people through a meditation on Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, on his anguish, and his arrest, I wrote these words:
Stay here, remain here with me.
But no, they cannot stay.
They are taken, as Jesus was taken,
The only kiss the kiss of betrayal.
The little children puzzled, asking,
Why did Mami not hug me before she left?
She left because she was taken, removed;
No hugs because her hands were shackled.
The children, los niƱos, left to wonder why.
U.S immigration policy is a complicated issue. I do not claim to have the answers. I only call us - myself most definitely included - during this Passion Week to fell compassion for the anguish of those children.
- Bill

"Seeing the face of the God of Jesus
in the face and the journey of each of these brothers and sisters--the least of these--
makes us feel like we are always in touch with the anguish of the cross 
but also with the hope of the resurrection."
- Feliberto Pereira


Bill Howden and Jan Davis
Soul Windows Ministries