Todays Gospel is one of Jesus many mountain experiences:
Before choosing the 12 apostles, Jesus went up the mountain and spent all night in prayer.
After the multiplication of the loaves, Jesus went up the mountain and spent the night in prayer.
Jesus spoke of his charter for the kingdom in the Sermon on the Mount.
At the Mount of Olives, Jesus prayed his heart out to the Father, hours before his death.
We need mountaintop experiences in our lives, but society has a tendency to level off the mountains and flatten them out. We build expressways that take the curves out of the road and the roads become straight and flat.
But somewhere we need mountaintop experiences that are singular, that take some preparation, time and effort. We need to be in a place where things look different and things always look different from the top of a mountain. We need to be in a place where we experience the closeness of God.
From the Churchs perspective, Easter is the great mountain of the whole year, and we work hard to make sure that those days of Holy Thurs, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday are unlike any other days. For instance, the Easter Vigil is a time when we stay up half the night (as we do on some special occasions) to experience the darkness and the new fire. Its a mountaintop experience, and we have to resist the temptation to flatten it out for convenience.
Its hard to climb a mountain. It takes a lot of effort. But we need mountaintop experiences to know God and ourselves in a new light.
Spend some quiet time with the Lord.
In the Dying Process
In the Gethsemane scene, both Mark and Matthew describe Jesus gradually moving away from his disciples.
When Jesus arrives, he first tells his disciples to sit here while he goes over there to pray. Then he moves away from the larger group and takes only Peter, James and John with him.
After telling these three disciples of a sorrow so deep that he could die of it (even to death.) He moves away from them and is all alone. Lying flat on the ground prostrate he begins to pray to his Father.
Some have noted that there is a striking parallel here to what often happens when a person is dying. At some point the person crosses a threshold and begins moving toward death, gradually distancing themselves from family and friends.
This can be misunderstood by those close to the dying person. They see it as rejection when, in truth, it is simply letting go (and enabling those being left behind to let go) so that death can take place.
Whether this is what Jesus is doing, no one knows.