Palm Sunday: Remain Here And Keep Watch

BY FR. GREG BOYLE, S.J. | March 24th, 2024
Today’s readings
Versión en español

We probably have eight tours a day at Homeboy Industries. As the largest gang intervention, rehab and re-entry program on the planet, folks come from around the world to walk through our headquarters in Chinatown, Los Angeles. They see rival, enemy gang members make croissants together in our bakery, they eat chilaquiles in our café and observe tattoos being removed in our clinic. I walk past these tours sometimes and hear our gang member guides explain what happens at our place. “You stretch out your hand and a million hands reach out to you,” says one tour guide. And another: “If you’re going through it, struggling with something, they don’t say, ‘Go in that room and work it out.’ They are in the room with you.”

Photo by Louie Mora (Homeboy Photographer)

Jesus in the garden is troubled and distressed. “My soul is sorrowful,” he says. His request of his disciples and of us all is to “Remain here and keep watch.” To be in the room with him.

I gave a talk recently in London and while taking a train to Heathrow, I saw the kinds of signs  we have from 9/11. “See something. Say something.” But on this train in England, it says: “See it. Say it. Sort it.” It explains underneath. “If you see something, say something, then we will sort it out.” It felt like a more compassionate corrective to the US version. Sometimes we aren’t entirely sure what we’re seeing, so it may well be challenging to exactly say what we’re seeing. We all need to sort it out together.

“Remain here and keep watch.” We are invited to meet each other in our distress and troubled hearts. We sort it out. A million hands responding. In the room together.

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