Minute Meditations

Keep Watch with Me

The Gospel says Jesus arrives at Gethsemane with his disciples but then distances himself a bit. This is a battle that Jesus needs to face by himself. He asks his companions to keep watch with him and to pray not to enter into temptation, but he needs to face this hour in solitude. The disciples do not hold up; they are not capable of keeping vigil and they fall asleep. But this sleep is certainly not a sign of weariness. So what kind of sleep is this? It is a way of escape. Sleep is the thing in life that most resembles death; it can be a way of escape. The disciples do not actually want to see this moment happen, to face this moment. How many ways we find to anesthetize our consciences and our minds, filling our schedules with appointments, filling our minds with noise, burdening ourselves in useless preoccupations with things we do not need, to avoid focusing our hearts, our gaze, our minds, our wills, and our emotions on the one thing that matters! We fear the struggle of facing the reality of daily life that makes us encounter the truth about ourselves, so we seek various subterfuges to avoid having to confront ourselves. Jesus asks us to keep watch with him, to look at reality, to choose the good, to remain anchored to him with our whole being, whatever it costs, because this is the only way to be free and to overcome.

— from the book Encountering Jesus: A Holy Land Experience by Vincenzo Peroni

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