Gethsemane: Accepting a love that transcends us

The Custody friars gathered at Gethsemane for their second Lenten pilgrimage on Wednesday, March 26th. Father Luca Grassi deepened his Lenten reflection and teaching, this time on the meaning of the sadness and anguish that Jesus endured at Gethsemane.

Reading the well-known passage from the 26th Matthew (“My soul is sorrowful even to death Remain here and keep watch with me”), he emphasized this manifestation of Jesus’ humanity as he asked his friends to keep watch. Yet he has to face their abandonment. He then becomes aware that it is he alone who can do what no one before him had ever done: conquer death. “This is why none of his disciples could watch with him,” explained Father Grassi. “No one before Jesus had measured the immensity of the sins of mankind and their horror; no one had understood the weight of evil.” Jesus, the Son of God on earth, not only loves like the Father, but also forgives and suffers like the Creator. Jesus is saddened by these brethren who do not see how precious and beautiful is this life, given to them by the Father. He is saddened, as are we at times, “at his approaching end, which means being deprived of some joys and some people, but what should surprise us is that he accepts it.” At Gethsemane, Jesus becomes the example of a man who, knowing that he is loved by his Father, agrees to bear the suffering of those whom he loves above all: us sinners. He knows that what awaits him is the encounter with God in the most mysterious and inexplicable sense, immense love that he already senses and that will “allow us, too, to move forward with determination”.

With these words, the group piously assembled at Gethsemane took some time in recollected prayer before, during the Our Father, taking up the words of Christ: “may thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Mt 6:10). Thus recognizing God’s will and his plan for every being, the faithful prayed to God to teach them to depend more on Providence so that they, too, might repeat Jesus’ “yes”.

As the friars’ robust voices were again raised in unison, pleading the protection of the Most High, the last rays of the sun pierced the stained glass windows, shining their splendor on the mosaics that cover the basilica’s vaulted ceiling. Everyone gathered after the celebration for refreshments offered by the superior of the sanctuary, Fra Benito. It was an opportunity for the friars to greet their friends from the many Orders and religious communities who had participated in the Mass. Next Wednesday, April 2nd, Father Luca will continue his reflections on the third Lenten pilgrimage, which will take place at the Flagellation at 5:00 p.m.


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