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Caiphas, while decreeing to put Jesus to death, they said expressly : Not on the festival-day, lest perhaps there should be a tumult among the people.
But meanwhile, the traitor, their captain, is continually repeating to them the admonition given to himself. That which (you do) do it quickly. He knows the habits of Jesus well. If they make not haste, He will cross Mount Olivet to Bethany, and the work of capturing Him will become immeasurably more difficult, if not impossible. Doubtless, as the Garden is so close at hand, he has his scouts watching, who tell him that no party of twelve men have as yet left Gethsemani to cross the hill. He may even know that eight of them are still sleeping by the roadside near the bridge.
All the while he is walking through hard ways. In bitter vexation he is again gnashing his teeth to find that his new masters are paying a much larger bribe to induce the Roman captain to undertake this most unwelcome and degrading duty, than the wretched price so grudgingly promised, and not yet paid to him, for his great services.
What wonder that the Holy Spirit tells us that men engaged in such unholy work as this, if they go out of this world unrepentant, spend their eternity in that hopeless moan: We wearied ourselves in the way of iniquity and destruction: and have walked through hard ways. We fools ! We fools! The serpent deceived me!
And He cometh the third time, and saith to them, Sleep ye
now, and take your rest. It is enough : the hour is
seven times, and countless times beyond, compassionate Lord Jesus, Thou hast come to our souls, looking to see if there be some fruit on the barren tree, and then, at the prayers of Thy Blessed Mother and Thy saints, who are only echoing the pleading of Thy own Heart, Thou hast gone away to wait once more for a better time.” We know that Thou art a gracious and merciful God, patient and of much compassion, and easy to forgive evil (Jonas iv.).
B. He saith to them, Sleep ye now, and take your rest. It is enough.
Commentators differ in their interpretation of these words.
1. Some think that when our Lord comes, His coming wakes the Apostles, and that thereupon He bids them sleep on, and take more rest; and waits by their side, Himself watching and praying, till the soldiers are near, and that then He says, It is enough, and with these words awakes them thoroughly.
2. But perhaps a more probable interpretation is, that when our Saviour arrives the third time, the Apostles have been waked up by the noise of the soldiers, who are beginning to march out from the Beautiful Gate, which is within bow-shot of the place where they have been sleeping.
The eight others who were left near the bridge, a little way to the south, have also, no doubt, heard the tumult, and seen the glare of torches on the hill, and are running in terror to the Garden, to seek protection at the side of their Master.
In this hour then Jesus says to the three, with such a holy irony as might come from His meek and tender Heart, Sleep now, and take your rest.
you have heart to sleep, and courage to sleep, if you can sleep, and will sleep, you can take your rest. But immediately, dropping all irony, He adds, It is enough. You have slept enough, now you must rouse yourselves. Sleep is now at
The hour is come.
C. We must not fail to fix well in our remembrance how gracious all the time, and how patient He is. He does not say one word to upbraid them. He might have reminded them of the prophecy : I looked for one that would grieve together with Me, but there was none ; and for one that would comfort Me, and there was none (Psalm 1xviii.). But His most compassionate Heart knows that already they are very sad : and the bruised reed He (never) will break (Isaias xlii.).
He knoweth our frame, He remembereth that we are dust (Psalm cii.). St. Ignatius lays it down as a certain rule, that when we are trying earnestly to be faithful to our Lord, rough and discouraging words never come from Him to our souls, but from the father of lies.
D. The hour is come : behold, the Son of Man shall be betrayed into the hands of sinners.
What here seems to affect most the tender and sensitive Heart of our Saviour is, not what He is going to suffer from the soldiers and servants, but that He shall be betrayed.
“ Attendite.” Once again, dwell a little on that sentence, which His prophet spoke for Him. If My enemy had reviled Me, I would verily have borne with it. But thou, a man of one mind with Me, My friend and My familiar, who didst take sweet meats together with Me : in the house of God we walked with consent (Psalm liv.).
How much more terrible to the Heart of our Lord a traitor is than an open enemy, who has never been a friend and a familiar !
We have all been on the footing of friends, because all things whatsoever I have heard of My Father, I have made known to you (St. John xv.). The uncertain and hidden
. things of Thy wisdom, Lord Jesus, Thou hast made manifest to me (Psalm l.). We have been admitted to the Table of our Lord to eat of the sweet meats with Him. Nay, much more than that. We have been allowed to become one with Him, by taking His Flesh to be our meat indeed, and His Blood to be our drink indeed. Oh, how content the blessed souls in Purgatory are to prolong their time of contrition, for having betrayed here on earth the Lord Jesus, so gracious a God, so merciful, so patient, of so much compassion, and so easy to forgive evil.
E. The hour is come : behold, the Son of Man shall be betrayed into the hands of sinners.
The hour is come. When does that hour now come, when Jesus is betrayed into the hands of sinners ? Alas ! when does it not come ? May it not come at any hour between the rising of the sun and the going down thereof, and again from the sunset to the dawn? For when is there an hour that the priest at the altar is not working the stupendous miracle of transubstantiation ? When is there an hour when men, women, and children may not approach in crowds to receive as their food the true Body of Christ Jesus, and His Sacred Blood and His Soul and His Divinity ? Sumunt boni, sumunt mali.
May the Sacred Heart of our Lord cast more and more of His burning fire on this earth, that we may all be moved to make reparation for all the outrages offered to our hidden God.”
STATION II. Rise, let us go : behold, he is at hand who will betray Me
(St. Matt. xxvi. 46). A. Rise, let us go.
Till now, then, the disciples have been sitting: He has been standing.
I am in the midst of you, He said this evening, as He that serveth. So is it still. We are the masters. Our Lord Jesus waits on us, and is our servant.
We are created to serve the Lord, but in good truth, as His devout disciple has said, He serves us much more than we serve Him.
"O Jesus! O Son of Mary! O serving Man! O lowly Servant of men ! draw our hearts to the omnipotent weakness and lowliness of Thy goodness!”
B. Behold, he is at hand who will betray Me.
He who will betray Me. What a position! Man seeks for distinction and eminence. Mark how in the mind of our Lord, he who will betray Me stands prominent and foremost among thousands. The chosen Apostle, now degraded and outcast—he who will betray Me.
We are taught that certain sacraments imprint a char. acter, a mark, a sign, which death does not efface, which all the fire of Hell does not burn out, which remains resplendent in Heaven throughout eternity. Any one who bears this mark, this badge, this character, if he dies a sinner, will throughout eternity be pointed out as one who betrayed Jesus.
C. He is at hand. By this time, we may suppose, the eight who had remained near the torrent have joined our Lord, and all the eleven stand gazing in great fear at the steep heights opposite, and so close to them, where the soldiers and the armed crowd are passing quickly through the gate, with lamps and torches in unnecessary abundance added to the moonlight.
D. He is at hand. The disciples are silent, utterly paralysed, their eyes fixed on the great crowd, and the glare of the torches rapidly drawing near. We are told
. that animals. at night, when they hear the roar of the lion prowling, become motionless through fear, and cannot fly. But the suspense is very short. The traitor is at hand.
E. Yet let us not forget how easily our Lord could pass unseen with His disciples through the very midst of the armed multitude had it pleased Him to do so. He is offered, He is made prisoner, solely and entirely because He willed it.