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Thursday, April 1, 2010

Holy Thursday Evening - Garden of Gethsemane


The Jewish Passover
and the
Catholic Eucharist
Part 3


Holy Thursday Evening
The Garden of Gethsemane
After interrupting the Passover celebration before the fourth cup of wine, Jesus and his disciples make their way to the garden of Gethsemane. He asked his disciples to stay and pray while he went further into the garden. Then, all three synoptic gospels record, Jesus fell on his face in prayer saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt.” (Matthew 26:39, Mark 14:35-36, Luke 22:42)

What is this cup? Is it possible that Jesus is referring to the fourth cup, the cup of consummation, of fulfillment of the Passover? Some have said that this cup refers to the cup of God’s wrath that God’s suffering servant, the Messiah must drink. But at the Last Supper just a few hours earlier Jesus said “I shall not drink again of this fruit of the wine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” (Matthew 26:29)

Jesus returns to his disciples, finding them asleep, reminds them to “Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matthew 26:41) Returning again to his spot further in the garden, Jesus prays, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, thy will be done.” (Matthew 26:42, Mark 14:39) And finally he prayed “for the third time, saying the same words.” (Matthew 26:44) Finally Jesus returns to his disciples for the third time and says, “Behold, the hour is at hand.” (Matthew 26:45) Three times Jesus asks his Father to take away this cup and three times Jesus says, not my will but yours [Father] be done.

At this time Judas enters the garden leading a crowd “with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the elders of the people.” (Matthew26:41) Betrayed with a kiss (Mark 14:45), Jesus was arrested, and his disciples fled in fear (Matthew 26:56, Mark 14:50)

Tonight after the evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper there will be a Eucharistic procession and the Blessed Sacrament will be removed from the tabernacle to a repository where is will be reserved until the Liturgy of the Lord’s Passion and Death, on Good Friday tomorrow afternoon. There will be emptiness when we return to our churches tomorrow. The altar will be stripped and the tabernacle will be open and empty.

Sin entered the world by an act in a garden.
  The sin of this world (my sin and yours)
will be covered by an act in a garden.
Come Lord Jesus

The Jewish Passover
and the
Catholic Eucharist

Part 4

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Old Posts
The Jewish Passover and the Catholic Eucharist
Part 1

The Jewish Passover and the Catholic Eucharist
Part 2






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