Then he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, knelt down, and prayed, ‘Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; yet, not my will but yours be done.’ [[ Then an angel from heaven appeared to him and gave him strength. In his anguish he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down on the ground.]]
Reflection by Janet Derby
I was struck when I read this by the verses in brackets. Those verses are not included in the most ancient manuscripts. I can understand why someone felt the need to add the idea that an angel came to Jesus and gave him strength. It is difficult to watch someone suffer and not know how to alleviate it. It is comforting to think that, particularly in the case of Jesus, an angel would appear. Yet, there is part of me that identifies with the text without that addition. During times of struggle, we do feel completely alone. It doesn’t mean that God is not there, but in our despair, we cannot feel a comforting presence. It can be a comfort to know that Jesus experienced that loneliness as well.
Comforting God, Thank you for the human side of Jesus which reminds us that you understand our struggles. Thank you also for the times when we feel your strengthening presence. Help us to be those “angels” in the lives of those around us in need. Amen.