“Proximity” 31 March: Luke 22.35-46

Today’s Word: “He came out and went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives; and the disciples followed him” (Luke 22.39).

In today’s reading Luke takes us into the territory we have come to know as Jesus’s Passion. It’s worth noting that no small part of the trials Jesus faced is made up of his evident grief at how little he seems to have got through to these men who have spent the last three years with him. In spite of the fact that the disciples have had considerable proof of his reliability (35), Jesus’s exasperated, ‘It is enough’ reveals how oblivious they seem to the full gravity of what lay ahead (38). However, there is nonetheless, something quite touching in the way Luke tells us that “they followed him” to the Mount of Olives. In spite of it all, (39) what Luke describes as his ‘custom’; that is, going to the place of prayer, had become their custom also. So, on the one hand, whilst Luke draws our attention to the intense loneliness which Jesus faces as he accepts his vocation; on the other hand, even though they remain sleepy and half-hearted, the disciples are even now, at least within earshot of his call to “get up and pray” (46). Perhaps we might make this our own desire for the coming days(?), a wakefulness and a devoted proximity.

Our Prayer for Lent is: “Lord Jesus, draw me into your friendship”.