Vocation Meditation -
Palm Sunday 2011
Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples, "Sit here while I go over there and pray." He took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be grieved and agitated. Then he said to them, "I am deeply grieved, even to death; remain here, and stay awake with me."
And going a little farther, he threw himself on the ground and prayed, "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet not what I want but what you want." Then he came to the disciples and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter, "So, could you not stay awake with me one hour? Stay awake and pray that you may not come into the time of trial; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." Again he went away for the second time and prayed, "My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done." Again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. So leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words.
Then he came to the disciples and said to them, "Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? See, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Get up, let us be going. See, my betrayer is at hand."
Today’s Palm Sunday Gospel recounts the passion of Christ, from the final moments of the Last Supper to His burial in the tomb.
Much happens in those hours.
During the evening, Jesus spends time in the garden of Gethsemane. It is here that we are given a glimpse of what could be described as our principle vocation: to “stay awake and pray” or as one translation recounts, to “watch and pray”.
For so many of us, God will not divulge the entire plan of our lives all at once. He wants us to stay awake, to watch and listen and continually pray for the grace and knowledge to follow His will in all things, just as Christ would in following the royal road of the Cross not too long after.
We are also afforded some insight into one of the real challenges to fulfilling our vocations: the danger of sensual pleasures. Christ warns the apostles to stay awake. Often, it is not the fire-breathing dragons of the Book of Revelation that confront us but the allure of sleep and oversleep, food and indulgence in eating. These fill our free time and deaden our senses, making it more difficult to live the life our Lord has entrusted to us.
Jesus asks us to stay awake with him and to pray.
Do I take the easy road of sleep and sensuality rather than do the hard work of “watching” out for the will of God and praying for guidance?
You have asked me to participate in Your passion, to stay awake and pray with You. Grant that I may find myself close to You, engaged in prayer and willing to join you in the saving work of salvation.
For the full Gospel reading for this Sunday, visit the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops site.