There are two unique moments in the life of Jesus when He invites Peter, James, and John to be with Him in His most intimate prayer. On Mount Tabor Jesus is transfigured before them. They see him in context with Moses and Elijah. It is a moment of joy and glory. They do not want to leave. They want to make the moment last forever. Peter signals this by wanting to build a monument there.
In the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus invites Peter, James, and John closer than the other disciples. He asks them to watch and pray with Him as He struggles to accept the will of the Father in embracing the cross. It is a moment of anguish and pain. Now they do not want to stay. They escape through sleep.
The challenge of Holy Week is an intensified experience of the basic challenge of the Christian life, namely, the willingness to be with Christ in both the moments of joy and glory and of anguish and pain. We say we want to follow the way of Christ. We say we wish to be saved through the loving action of Christ. We hope to live with Him forever.
Like Peter we profess that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God. But then, like Peter, we want to tell Christ how to be Christ. “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God but you should not suffer.” “I am willing to take up my cross and follow you but I prefer to choose the cross I will carry.” “I will be with you on Mount Tabor but I do not want to enter the Garden of Gethsemane.”
To live the Christian life authentically, to enter Holy Week with integrity we need to allow Christ to be Christ, we need to allow Christ to love us as He has chosen to love us, namely, by suffering and dying for us and for our salvation. That means enjoying Christ in glory on Mount Tabor and being compassionately present to Christ in solidarity in the Garden of Gethsemane.
The same is true in moving from Calvary to Easter. From Good Friday to Easter Sunday we move from fear to faith, from despair to hope. Our tendency is to want to leapfrog to Easter. Why is there a small number of people in Church on Good Friday compared to Easter Sunday? To get to Easter we need to live through Good Friday. To experience the joy of the empty tomb we need to suffer the agony of Good Friday.