He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. When it was evening He was there alone.
Thank you for joining today as we continue our Ordinary Time journey focused on listening to, obeying, and witnessing to Jesus.
You may recall, the last time we were in Year B Sunday readings, which we will be again starting this December in Advent, we read from the Gospel according to St. Mark. The Gospel according to St. Mark is sparse. There is no infancy narrative. Right in the first chapter, verse 35, after performing many great works, Jesus went out to a lonely place to pray.
We see this action several times throughout the Gospels. That time in private prayer culminates with Jesus’ prayer in the garden before His arrest.
What do you think Jesus prayed about?
The only account we have of His private prayer is that in the Garden – His agony foreseeing what would occur and His commitment to the Father’s will. All the other prayers are unaccounted.
We might take a clue about His prayer from the experiences surrounding Jesus’ prayer. He had just fed the thousands and saw them as sheep without a shepherd. Mathew’s gospel notes that [He] saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them. Jesus’ heart hurt for all humanity faced. His heart hurt for the blindness of the people as He wept over Jerusalem (see Luke 19:41-44). He rejoiced when He found mutual love and acceptance of the Kingdom.
Jesus, God of creation, the breath of God Who moved over the waters knew what was intended for us: our eternal happiness; fellowship in God; peace and comfort; endless joy. He experienced all that we must face in our brokenness, in the hurt and sin that pervades in the world and blocks our way to God’s desire for us.
As we pray when faced with difficult situations, as we plead in our frustrations, as we give thanks in times of joy so did Jesus. His humanity gave thanks and cried out, but with a unique perspective – God’s perspective. He prayed in His compassion for us.
As Jesus approached the disciples in the boat, they feared. As Peter sank, he cried out. In both cases Jesus responded to take away fear and to save. So, He does with us. What Jesus prayed for was us – that we accept Him, follow His way, and have faithful courage in all things.