The thorns in the plant Euphorbia standing near the entrance of the Garden of Gethsemane caught my eyes as I entered this holy ground during a trip to Jerusalem with my wife Ann and my mom Aiding last year.
Being so afraid of needles, I shuddered in fright reflecting on how Jesus, being God, could have seen beforehand how He was to be betrayed, whipped, crowned with thorns, forced to carry a heavy cross and eventually nailed to it.
How He would have wept and cried with blood feeling beforehand the extreme pain that was to come to Him.
As I try to reflect on Christ death near midnight of Holy Thursday, it is the pain Christ suffered that comes to mind most. How lucky we are Catholics to have a loving God who suffered for us, instead of the other way around.
Ironically, I know it is hard to reflect on pain in a hotel in a fun -- and to some sinful place like Boracay – in this Holy Week, but then I guess faith grows and flourish in the most sinful of places!
It also helps that I can draw on my memories of my Holy Land trip to put in a visual and graphic sense the context of Christ's suffering. Apart from the thorns, I can also greatly recall the feeling of pain, sorrow and awe when I touched and kissed the Holy Rock of Agony where Jesus was believed to have held his prayer. The rock is now housed in place called the Basilica of Agony in Jerusalem.
It is built on the foothill of the Mount of Olives where Jesus had his last prayer and where He supposedly bargained with God the Father if it was possible for Him not to suffer the pain that will befall him in the coming hours. I also recall getting goose bumps seeing the gnarled trunks and branches of old olive tress in the holy garden that seemed to add horror to the whole scene.
I am posting these pictures in hope that they can help you put your faith in context as they helped me too even if I am clearly in a not so holy place this Holy Week.
Like some of you, I am not a very holy or Church-going man, but I do value my faith in my God and such faith has helped me and my family weather through all the unusually big trials and challenges that have come my way.
Have a blessed life everyone!
(Written at 11:45 p.m. on Holy Thursday)