The passage recounting the Lord’s agony in the garden is one of the most emotional in the Scriptures. Filled with fear and dread, Jesus asks three disciples to be with him. He says, “My heart is full of sorrow, to the point of death. Remain here and stay awake” (Mark 14:34). Jesus’ perfect human nature attuned his emotional and physical pain to exceptional acuity. What the heart of the God-Man filled with sorrow means is unimaginable. Working in a funeral home, I have seen persons convulsed in sorrow. And every day we hear stories of cruel mistreatment. Children are separated from their parents. POWs are tortured. Renters are evicted in bitter winter. The sins of the world’s cruelty are immense beyond comprehension. Yet Jesus bore the world’s sin and redeemed it.
Are we willing to take on another person’s pain? Can we say with Saint Paul “I find my joy in the suffering I endure for you” (Col. 1:24)? Let us be open to holding another’s sorrow in our hearts.