Washington, 13 March, 2022 / 2:40 pm (ACI Africa).
Noting that Luke's Gospel reveals that Peter, James, and John had fallen asleep prior to Jesus' Transfiguration, Pope Francis urged the faithful during his Angelus reflection Sunday to call on the Holy Spirit to awaken their desire to pray.
"The drowsiness of the three disciples appears to be a discordant note. The same apostles then fall asleep in Gethsemane too, during the anguished prayer of Jesus, who had asked them to keep watch (cf. Mk 14:37-41). This somnolence in such important moments is surprising," the pope observed on March 13, the ninth anniversary of his pontificate, speaking to a large crowd gathered in St. Peter's Square in Rome.
"However, if we read carefully, we see that Peter, John and James fall asleep before the Transfiguration begins, that is, while Jesus is in prayer. The same will happen in Gethsemane. This is evidently a prayer that continued for some time, in silence and concentration. We may think that at the beginning they too were praying, until tiredness prevailed," he continued.
Pope Francis observed that as followers of Jesus, we are prone to the same weaknesses as the apostles, and often miss the opportunity to converse with God at important moments of our lives.
"Perhaps in the evening, when we would like to pray, to spend some time with Jesus after a day of rushing around and being busy. Or when it is time to exchange a few words with the family and we no longer have the strength. We would like to be more awake, attentive, participatory, not to miss precious opportunities, but we can’t, or we manage it somehow but poorly," he said.