We come to you in eager pilgrimage.
We come as part of a great throng of pilgrims
who through the centuries have come to this place,
where you are pilgrim and host, apostle and patron.
We come to you today
because we are on a common journey.
Place yourself, patron of pilgrims,
at the head of our pilgrimage.
Teach us, apostle and friend of the Lord,
the WAY which leads to him.
Open us, preacher of the Gospel,
to the TRUTH you learned from your Master’s lips.
Give us, witness of the faith,
the strength always to love the LIFE Christ gives.
We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
With the Lord in the Garden of Gethsemane (Mark 14:32-42)
They came to a place named Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” He took with him Peter, James, and John, and began to be troubled and distressed. Then he said to them, “My soul is sorrowful even to death. Remain here and keep watch.”
He advanced a little and fell to the ground and prayed that if it were possible the hour might pass by him; he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible to you. Take this cup away from me, but not what I will but what you will.” 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.”
Withdrawing again, he prayed, saying the same thing. Then he returned once more and found them asleep, for they could not keep their eyes open and did not know what to answer him. He returned a third time and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? It is enough. The hour has come. Behold, the Son of Man is to be handed over to sinners. Get up, let us go. See, my betrayer is at hand.”
The same three who witnessed Christ in glory – Peter, James, and John – witness his sufferings in the Garden of Gethsemane. As scripture commentator Marie Noonan Sabin observes, the contrasts between the two scenes are poignant. There, Jesus shone with dazzling light; here, all is darkness. There, Jesus stood above the mountain; here, he falls to the ground. There, the Father spoke words of love; here, Jesus asks his Father to take the cup of suffering away from him.
In this last hour, Jesus does not want to be alone: he wants his friends at his side. But these friends, who will scatter when Jesus is arrested, have already begun to abandon him: they cannot even stay awake to keep him company.
Peter, James, and John will become pillars of the Church, preaching the Good News far and wide. Jesus wants these Apostles to be witnesses, not just of the divine signs and wonders he performs, but of his humanity and his suffering. He wants them to be aware of his weakness—and their own. Perhaps that is why the sacrament of penance is such an important part of our faith. In becoming more aware of our own weakness, we become more compassionate and understanding towards others.
More on St. James the Greater click here