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blot out my iniquity. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within my bowels (Psalm l.).
But he that shall persevere to the end, he shall be saved (v. 13).
Man's life on earth is a warfare (Job vii.). Through many tribulations we must enter into the Kingdom of God (Acts xiv.). Holy Church asks God daily to give us some fellowship with the martyrs. We ought not to have much leisure to be solicitous about money or about health or other things that pass with this world; for, One thing is necessary. All our desires and prayers must be that we persevere to the end.
STATION V. And this Gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in the
whole world for a testimony to all nations, and then shall the consummation come (v. 14).
Has this condition been yet fulfilled ? Has the Gospel been preached in the whole world?
Do we by prayers and alms help the propagation of the faith through the whole world?
As the Apostles had asked concerning the destruction of Jerusalem and concerning the end of the world, our Lord in His answer says some words that apply to both. Now He speaks for a while about the destruction of Jerusalem.
Then they that are in Judea let them flee to the mountains.
And he that is on the housetop let him not come down to
take anything out of his house. For there shall be then great tribulation, such as hath not
been from the beginning of the world until now, neither shall be (vv. 15, 17, 21).
If, to avoid bodily suffering, we are to be so prompt, and sacrifice home and save ourselves by rapid flight, what ought we to do to save ourselves and our children
from spiritual ruin? We are the children of the men who fled to the Continent, and sacrificed home and lands, and went to prison and to the scaffold, to keep the holy faith for
What doth it profit a man if he gain the whole world, and suffer the loss of his soul? (St. Matt. xvi.).
And unless those days had been shortened, no flesh should be
saved : but, for the sake of the elect, those days shall be shortened (v. 22).
For the sake of the elect. If ten just men could be found in the city, God was ready to spare Sodom. He afterwards, we are told, put a limit to the fury of the Romans who destroyed Jerusalem, for the sake of the few who wished to become disciples of Christ. If we, then, are true to our holy religion, besides saving our own souls, we act as guardian angels to protect others. It is on record that a truly Christian soldier, Albuquerque, when all seemed lost in the middle of a raging storm, lifted a baptised infant in his arms, and besought God by the innocence of that child to save the ship and the crew, and that his prayer was heard.
Then if any man shall say to you : Lo! here is Christ, or
there, do not believe him. For there shall arise false Christs (vv. 23, 24).
Here He warns them that impostors will arise and tell them that the Messias is come to conquer the Romans.
Behold I have told it to you beforehand. Alas! in vain; for the multitudes are led astray by false teachers, as if our Lord had never forewarned.
This leads Him to speak of His Second Coming, and to teach them that it shall be very sudden and very public,
For as lightning cometh out of the east, and appeareth even into the west: so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be.
Wheresoever the body shall be, there shall the eagles also be gathered together.
That is, as birds of prey rapidly swoop down and gather round a carcass,
all men will rapidly gather to the spot to which our Lord is come to judge. Happy they who in our present day of privilege gather with hunger and thirst, like birds of prey, around the tabernacle where the body of our Lord now reposes. They will not fear when He comes in His majesty.
STATION X. And there shall be signs in the sun and in the moon and the
stars; men withering away for fear, and expectation of
what shall come upon the whole world (St. Luke xxi. 25). And then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven,
and then shall all tribes of the earth mourn. And they shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of
heaven (St. Matt. xxiv. 30).
A. If we have grace to love the Passion of our Lord now, the Cross will not then overwhelm us with fear.
B. When bound as a prisoner during His Passion, He reminded His judges more than once that He would one day be their Judge. As we contemplate Him become so little and so annihilated in the tabernacle, we must often rouse our faith, and say, Judex crederis esse venturus_“I believe that Thou art my Judge Who is to come”.
STATION XI. Amen I say to you, this generation shall not pass till all these
things be done. Heaven and earth shall pass, but My words shall not pass
(St. Matt. xxiv.). We must firmly believe every word of our Lord. Before the human race shall pass away, every iota shall be ulfilled.
STATION XII. But of that day and hour no one knoweth; no, not the angels
of Heaven, but the Father alone (v. 36). So too God does not permit us to know the hour when we shall die and be judged, lest perchance, if we knew that we yet had some years to live, we should live negligently and sin, and in consequence of multiplied sins not have, in the end, grace to repent.
Watch ye, therefore, because you know not in what hour
your Lord will come (St. Matt. xxiv. 42). Our Lord now urges upon all His disciples this great moral.
As the destruction of Jerusalem bore a resemblance to the end of the world, so too for each of us does the day of our death, since for us it is the end of all things here.
As in the days of Noe, so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the Flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, even till that day on which Noe entered into the Ark, and they knew not till the Flood came, and took them all away ; so also shall the coming of the Son of Man be (37, 38).
That is, the day of death will come upon us as a surprise. Behold I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth (Apoc. xvi.). Blessed is that servant whom, when the Lord shall come, He shall find so doing (St. Matt. xxiv. 46).
Watch ye, therefore, for you know not when the Lord of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning. Lest coming on a sudden He find you sleeping. And what I say to you, I say to all, Watch (St. Mark xiii.).
If the Heart of our Saviour wished to be severe and to take us by surprise, He would not be at such pains to
impress on us that He will come as a thief.
His one anxiety is to move us to live as children of His Heavenly Father ought to live. For, if we are not in a fit state to die, we are not living rightly.
MOUNT OF OLIVES. WEDNESDAY IN HOLY WEEK.
Where did our Blessed Saviour spend the Wednesday of Holy Week? Some commentators answer that He was teaching in the Temple, as on the two foregoing days. They ground their opinion on the words of St. Luke (c. xxi. 37). In the day-time He was teaching in the Temple, but at night going out He abode in the Mount that is called Olivet. These words are found after the account that St. Luke gives of our Lord's discourses, and seem to refer to all the days between the supper at Bethany and the Last Supper. On the other hand, there appear to be reasons for judging that our Saviour on the Wednesday did not go into Jerusalem, but remained either in Bethany or some other part of the Mount of Olives. The strongest of these reasons is that St. Mark, who carefully notes our Lord's movements on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, makes no mention of any return to Jerusalem on Wednesday morning.
We may also here ask where did our Blessed Saviour pass the nights on these first four days of Holy Week ? Guided by the words just quoted from St. Luke, At night He abode on the Mount that is called Olivet, some interpreters take for granted that He spent these nights in prayer on the Mount of Olives. If He did so, He would only be doing, in these last days, what He had done in the early part of His Public Life. He spent the whole night in the prayer of God (St. Luke vi.).
Other commentators, however, bearing in mind that Bethany was situated on the slope of Mount Olivet, understand the words of St. Luke to mean that He passed part of the night at Gethsemani and part at Bethany.
With regard to the day-time, we may follow the opinion of those who, guided by St. Mark, believe that our Blessed Saviour did not go into Jerusalem on Wednesday, but taught His disciples privately on the Mount of Olives.
A third question also occurs. What did He teach them on that day? Where does the discourse of Tuesday break off? Where does the teaching of Wednesday begin ? We know nothing for certain. All that He said after leaving Jerusalem on Tuesday evening is given in one unbroken narrative, as if all formed a part of the same discourse delivered while He sat on Mount Olivet that evening.
On the other hand, there is nothing to forbid the supposition that He divided His teaching and reserved some of it for