The agony at Gethsemane is very singnificant for the salvation of humanity. It is in this moment when Jesus Christ freely accepts his Father’s will. Though, here we see, how the two natures of Jesus enter into a fight. In this chapter, Cardinal Ratzinger wants us to explore certain characteristics of the person of Jesus. 

First, Jesus experienced a deep need of prayer. As the second person of the holy Trinity, Jesus keeps communion with his Father. It is not unusual for Jesus to separate himself from the disciples to have this intimate communion with the Father. However, his need of prayer, is not only because he wanted to avoid the horrific moments that were about to happen, but this fear, also came from the human destiny that he was assuming.  Jesus freely assumes all the responsibility of human sin in order to bring humankind back into a relationship with the God.

Second, Jesus experience sorrow and distress. The agony of Jesus in the garden shows that the divinity of Christ suffers with his humanity. At first, Jesus prays “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me.” On the other hand, he prays “yet, not as I wil, but as you will.” Because of his humanity, Jesus felt tempted to avoid this moments of horror, he felt sad, and abandoned; but in his divinity God himself saved the entire humankind.

Jesus as the high priest. According to Ratzinger, by his auto-donation Jesus became the true priest. The word priest, means the one who mediates in religious service. Also it means one who is holy or set apart to perform those services. In his priesthood, Jesus is greater than any other priest because through him hour humanity is back into relationship with God the Father. He was the only one who could be the mediator between God and humankind.

I like it based on this reasons.

1- it clearly reflects both the human and divine nature of Jesus.

2- Gives a better sense of the suffering of the Cross. Without the Cross there is not resurrection.

3- The experience of the cross, shows how God brings good out of evil.


5 thoughts on “Gethsemane”

  1. this a very complete and well-presented summary of Cardinal Ratzinger (Pope Benedict) view of the Gethsemane. In my opinion, you capture the essence of this section by saying that there is no resurrection if there is no Cross. This is relevant because for our present generation and future generation is hard to deal with suffering, just because they do not understand it or they do not want to deal with it. Thank you!

  2. You give a very good summary of Pope Benedict’s interpretation on the Gethsemane! The first point, which is about Jesus’ need to pray, cough my attention because reminds me about the importance of being in union with God and because of the goodness that comes from being in and true pray.

  3. The agony in Gethsemane shows that Jesus did not want to die. He too was afraid to suffer. However, we can find strength in meditating on His suffering to help us through our own “little agonies.” If the cross had been easy for Jesus to carry, then how would we relate to His suffering when we are asked to pick up our own crosses? We place our hope in Jesus to help us through our sufferings.

  4. This brings me back to Christology. He is one divine person with two natures. In the person of Jesus, neither nature is “squelched”; the natures are both present without confusion, change, division, or separation. In Jesus’ human nature, God suffered. And here, Benedict investigates how this can be. Jesus Christ is true priest and mediator.

  5. As we learned in Christology, the Agony in the Garden was the moment when Jesus bent His human will to the His divine will. This agony is relatable. In Jesus humanity He does not want to suffer and die yet He knows this to be necessary for the Salvation of the world and the very reason He took on a human nature. Great job in summarizing Ratzinger’s theological insight!

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