Gospel according to Mark (14:32-52)


The Evangelist Mark narrates Jesus’ night of anguish and intense prayer that led him to the complete abandonment to the will of the Father, and was followed by Judas’ betrayal. Mark emphasizes that Jesus’ prayer to the Father was full of confidence and familiarity. In the text, Jesus addresses his Father using the term “Abba”, which in Jewish tradition was never employed in encounters with God; moreover, “Abba” appears in the Gospels only in this text, thus underlining the profound intimacy between God and his son Jesus at this moment when Jesus felt his greatest need for the love of the Father.

Mark is also the only one to include a detail that was perhaps of a personal nature: this relates to the young man who fled naked from the guards, leaving the linen cloth he had been wearing on the ground. It is possible that this was an autobiographical memory. Mark had been in Jerusalem and this very grove of Gethsemane may have belonged to his family, in which case he might well have been caught by surprise sleeping in his shelter, wearing nothing but a linen cloth.


32 Then they came to a place named Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, "Sit here while I pray." 33 He took with him Peter, James, and John, and began to be troubled and distressed. 34 Then he said to them, "My soul is sorrowful even to death. Remain here and keep watch." 35 He advanced a little and fell to the ground and prayed that if it were possible the hour might pass by him;
36 he said, "Abba, Father, all things are possible to you. Take this cup away from me, but not what I will but what you will." 37 When he returned he found them asleep. He said to Peter, "Simon, are you asleep? Could you not keep watch for one hour? 38 Watch and pray that you may not undergo the test. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak." 39 Withdrawing again, he prayed, saying the same thing. 40 Then he returned once more and found them asleep, for they could not keep their eyes open and did not know what to answer him. 41 He returned a third time and said to them, "Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? It is enough. The hour has come. Behold, the Son of Man is to be handed over to sinners. 42 Get up, let us go. See, my betrayer is at hand."
43 Then, while he was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived, accompanied by a crowd with swords and clubs who had come from the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders. 44 His betrayer had arranged a signal with them, saying, "The man I shall kiss is the one; arrest him and lead him away securely." 45 He came and immediately went over to him and said, "Rabbi." And he kissed him. 46 At this they laid hands on him and arrested him. 47 One of the bystanders drew his sword, struck the high priest's servant, and cut off his ear. 48 Jesus said to them in reply, "Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs, to seize me? 49 Day after day I was with you teaching in the temple area, yet you did not arrest me; but that the scriptures may be fulfilled."
50 And they all left him and fled. 51 Now a young man followed him wearing nothing but a linen cloth about his body. They seized him, 52 but he left the cloth behind and ran off naked.

New American Bible 2002