“When he returned he found them asleep. He said to Peter, "Simon, are you asleep? Could you not keep watch for one hour? Watch and pray that you may not undergo the test. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak."”(Mc 14: 37-38).



“Simon, and not Peter: that is how Jesus calls his apostle. In the note “u” of the TOB Bible, it states: “there is a manifest intention in this usage of the first name that Peter was bearing before becoming a disciple: not able to associate himself for an hour in vigil with Christ in agony is not worthy of the disciple Peter.”

“Jesus was abandoned by all, even by his apostles, who followed him who fell asleep in place of keeping watch. They have not even a word of consolation when he gently complained of their lack of care. ‘Could you not stay awake with me for even an hour?’. They did not answer, and he, covered with sweat and blood, accepted this indifference and gave them a salutary lesson: ‘Stay awake and pray, so that you may not slip into temptation’” (De Brésillac, Retreat to missionaries, p. 217).

“Jesus experiences painful solitude where the very idea of a consolation becomes a luxury. In this cold night in Gethsemanes, Jesus is abandoned. For Bishop de Brésillac, this word “abandoned” will become like a pressing call to the mission at the end of his half-tainted mission in India: “To go to the most abandoned.”

I will never forget the reaction of a confrere on the insistence of our formation team to put in the heart of the students that the mission of the SMA was to go to the most abandoned. He said, “The most abandoned is Jesus Christ!” To sum it all, the confrere explained that Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, remains alone at most of the time. It seems important for me to bring out this judicious remark, not only for this Season of Lent, but in favor of the most abandoned.

The expression “the most abandoned is Jesus Christ” correlates with the expression “Jesus is in the most abandoned”. One of the most popular saints of the past century, Mother Teresa of Calcutta, built all her life and spirituality on this. Another great saint of our time, John Paul II, had this happy formula in putting these two dimensions together: “The missionary is a contemplative in action.” But to have the strength of meeting Jesus in the most abandoned, Jesus should not be the most abandoned for the missionary. It is the daily face to face with the Lord and the listening to His Word that opens the eyes to see him, to serve him in the sick, the stranger, the prisoner,…and to avoid falling into the temptation of discouragement or of self-exaltation for one’s successes.

In this text, it is also good to underline the goodwill of Jesus towards his failing disciple. Instead of hurling him for his abandon, Jesus renews his trust in him and reframes him: “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into the power of temptation.” Today again, whatever has been our sleep, betrayal, insouciance or indifference, Jesus does not renounce his choice for someone he has called. On the contrary, he invests his trust in him and expresses to him his expectation: “Watch and pray with me for the Father’s reign to come.”

QUESTION: Will we know how to follow him in this Holy Week?”

Seraphin Kiosi, SMA Congo R.D., Chaponost, France

Previous articles:

- 11 - He found them asleep
- 10 - Teacher, we want you to do for us
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- 8 - We have given up everything
- 7 - Who is the greatest
- 6 - Do not trust every spirit…
- 5 - Like the Apostles... Filled with the Holy Spirit
- 4 - Like the Apostles...“Go thus all the nations…
- 3 - Like the Apostles... The supreme good of knowing Christ Jesus
- 2 - Like the Apostles... In communion withe Christ who sends us