Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time
by Fr. Ivan Olmo
“Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” In the Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus invites us into a prolonged suffering. He welcomes us into his prayer, into his pain, into rejection, into the depths of his sorrow, into the agony of his heart. We share the disciple’s lack of understanding for this night is different from any other night. Jesus’ heart is heavy, his eyes sad, his face weary. Who could know a passion so pure? Who could understand a love so sacrificial? The disciples seem to be out of place, without words, without prayer, without sleep. They don’t understand. Who could love this much? It’s fear that keeps them and still keeps us from knowing this profound love. It is a lack of freedom that prevents them and prevents us from going deeper into the Heart of Jesus. Our own sinfulness causes Jesus to be afflicted, sad, concerned. We are the cause of his great pain and intense suffering. Our own fear of pain and sorrow keeps us from asking Jesus, What is it? What is wrong? Why are you troubled? Why are you trembling? Why do you look so frightened? Why are you so sad? At first, we do not want to know the answer because we feel it will involve something from us. Perhaps a change. Perhaps a sacrifice. Perhaps a choice. We do not understand this kind of unconditional love that burns so intensely in our human body and in our human nature. We seem to oppose this kind of divine love. We seem to be habitually prone to selfishness, to self-love, to making it about us and not about Jesus. Nevertheless, Jesus wants us to know that he wants to do this for love of us. He wants us to move past the fear that cripples us and into the love that frees us. The image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus reflects his agony and the great love he has for us. He freely suffers to bring us relief. The flames of Jesus’ heart burn so brightly for us; ever so intensely – purifying, freeing, cleansing, suffering for our sake, suffering because of us, suffering for love of us. Jesus’ heart cries out to us. It speaks to us from a profound silence and a place perhaps unfamiliar to us. It sends forth a whisper that echoes inside of us. I love you. The hour has come. “Behold, the Son of Man is to be handed over to sinners” for love of you.