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And all this while, neither He nor His Blessed Mother wishes for one wound, one bruise the less. For they both have fixed in their hearts the words that strengthened Him in the Garden : By His bruises we are healed. Because His Soul hath laboured, He shall see and be filled (Isaias liii.).
G. “ Attendite." Stay yet a little while watching and listening. Listen to the sound of His heavy fall; listen, too, to the sound of His sacred face striking against the rock. “Oh,” He says to us with most humble and most meek Heart, as He lies prostrate, “ Tantus labor, non sit
Let not My painful journey be all in vain, all without fruit. Stay with Me till virtue goes out from Me to you."
The sick woman said so wisely : If I shall touch only His garment, I shall be healed (St. Matt. ix.). Now, then, if I draw near and reverently look upon and touch, not His garment, but His sacred wounds and bruises, surely virtue will come out from Him more abundantly than from His seamless garment. As I see blow after blow bruising His Body, I shall gain strength to bear with some meekness the slight rebukes, the unkind words that have heretofore seemed to me so unbearable.
H. And also, as He falls to the ground, He says to me, and His Blessed Mother joins Him, “Weep not for Me. Oh, there are worse falls than Mine. I saw Satan fall like lightning out of Heaven. I see My own disciples fall.”
Let us think how grievously we have fallen, and think, too, of others who are fallen. If the bruises of His fallen Body heal the wounds of our fallen souls, great indeed will be His consolation.
I. And as we look on with pity and with sadness, while, with many curses and imprecations, they lift Him by the hair of His Head, His most loving Heart is saying
Oh, do not be cruel to the fallen, lest such a one be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow” (2 Cor. ii.).
J. And as we see Him rise, and fall, rise again and again fall, and as again we hear the sound of the heavy
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blows, and again hear the words of hatred, and again see the hair torn from His Sacred Head in the attempt to raise Him, once more He says to us, Weep not over Me, nor over My falls, for they are not too many; over My little ones, who renounce Lucifer and go back to him, are forgiven and again go back to him: The dog is returned to his vomit : the sow that was washed, to her wallowing in the mire (2 St. Peter ii.).
K. They brought Jesus to the High Priest.
Here, too, we observe once more, as they drag Him with noise and tumult through the streets of Ophel, where the poor are living, how the inspired word is again proved to be true: There is no wisdom, there is no prudence, there is no counsel against the Lord (Prov. xxi.). Great care was to be taken, so they decreed, lest there should be a tumult among the people. And lo, in their senseless intoxication, they are doing the things most suited to cause a rising and a tumult, were not God's angels keeping the city.
L. They brought Jesus to the High Priest.
While we contemplate our Divine Master thus dragged along by men, alas ! we hear the voice of the Holy Spirit saying: What is it that hath been ? the same that shall be. What is it that hath been done ? The same that shall be done. This dismal scene has not passed away.
It recurs and is perpetuated. We still possess a terrible power over our God, akin to that permitted on this night to these Jews, and we are men of the same fallen family that they were of. The same unseen spirits of wickedness are always urging us also to outrage Christ Jesus. What is there, St. Augustine asks, that one man does that another man may not do, if not helped by Him by Whom all men are made ? We are all, as has been said, so created that none of us can walk alone, or exist by himself. Our God, Who created us, must every instant keep us in being, must hold us together, must ward off annihilation, must maintain life and activity, and help us in every work we do, every word we speak, every thought we think. For how could anything endure if Thou wouldst not, or be preserved if not called by Thee ? (Wisdom xi.).
If, then, I lift my hand to feed myself, my. Creator is helping me, else I could not do it. If I go upwards towards Heaven, or if I go downwards towards Hell; if I travel in the morning to meet the sunrise; if I walk on the land or sail on the sea, everywhere, O my God, shall Thy hand lead me, and Thy right hand shall hold me. So that if I abuse the free-will and the power given to me by the great God Who made me, I not only sin in His presence, under His eye, and before His face - malum coram te feci-but I am actually using the help He is giving me against Him. I am using His assistance to offend Him grievously, and to give Him infinite displeasure in the presence of all His enemies.
M. When thou shalt be old, Jesus said a few days later to St. Peter, thou shalt stretch out thy hands, and another shall bind thee and lead thee where thou wouldst not. With the great God there is no old age, no decrepitude. It is while He is in the full glory of His eternal strength and power and wisdom and holiness, that I, a foolish, senseless sinner, bind Him, and lead Him whither He would not. I make use of His co-operation as if He were my tool, my instrument, to do my own bad will, and to sin against Him.
Hence this most meek and humble expostulation of our Lord addressed to us: I have not caused thee to serve with oblations, nor wearied thee with incense. But thou hast made Me to serve with thy sins, thou hast wearied Me with thy iniquities (Isaias xliii.). But because He is ever a gracious and merciful God, patient and of much compassion, and easy to forgive evil (Jonas iv.), He adds at once, I am, I am He that blot out thy iniquities for My own sake, and I will not remember thy sins (Isaias xliii.). And then with the infinite condescension of a Father Who is both Creator and Redeemer, He adds: Put Me in remembrance, and let us plead together ; tell if thou hast anything to justify thyself (Isaias xliii.). I will not then spend my time in casting stones at these
stiff-necked Jews, but I will strike my breast as I contemplate, and say again and again in humility, Peccavi. “I have sinned, my God, and done evil before Thee. For I have made Thee serve me in my sins, and have wearied Thee with my iniquities."
A certain young man followed Him, having a linen cloth
cast about his naked body: and they laid hold on him. But he casting off the linen cloth fled from them naked (vv. 5, 52).
St. Mark is the only Evangelist who records this incident. If it had no other importance, still it would help us to see how one holy writer is not merely transcribing the Gospel of another. We might be inclined to think that St. Mark's Gospel is merely an abridgment of St. Matthew's. But in his narrative we meet with many words and facts not found elsewhere. St. Peter, who was his guide as he wrote, probably remembered this fact and communicated it to St. Mark.
A. They laid hold on him.
This fact shows that our Blessed Lord's enemies are in a feverish, excited state, and quite ready to seize all His disciples, if so permitted. But every hair of their head is numbered. If you seek Me, let these go their way. This is
, His command; and so it shall be done. They have leave to seize and bind Jesus; but not the disciples, nor any one else; and therefore not this
Thou art my Protector and my Refuge, my God. For the present, no one is to be struck or wounded by the hand of man on account of Jesus; He must tread the wine-press alone. Later, they shall be bound and bruised and slain for His sake. In this hour those who love Him-and, high above all the rest, His Ever-Blessed Mother-shall suffer through compassion. Love shall wound them; but not the hand of His enemies.
B. But he casting of the linen cloth fled away naked.
So we read the holy Patriarch Joseph, when the wicked woman caught the skirt of his garment, he leaving the garment in her hand, fled, and went out. Qur forefathers had to leave home and country and friends and possessions to flee away to save their faith. Happy they who at the voice of God, and at the voice of conscience, are ready to cast off all and follow the friendly warning.
“ By Thy bitter Passion, O Lord, give strength to those whom Thou art calling into Thy Church, that they may have courage to follow the call; and not go away sad bebecause they have peace in their possessions.”
A certain young man.
The question is asked who this young man was. Some writers answer that he was St. James, others say St. John. But others again consider these conjectures quite improbable, since St. Mark in the sentence immediately preceding writes, Then His disciples leaving Him, all fled away. Moreover, they think it very unlikely any of the Apostles would have come from the Cenacle attired in this way. It seems more probable that he was of those who resided in one of the houses near the Garden, and, being waked from his sleep by the tumult, came out to see what was going on; and having probably known our Lord, Who often resorted to this Garden, was interested in His fate, and followed to see what might happen.
THE HOUSE OF ANNAS.
But they holding Jesus, led Him to Caiphas the High Priest,
where the Scribes and Ancients were assembled (St. Matt.
xxvi.). And they brought Jesus to the High Priest; and all the
Priests and Scribes and the Ancients assembled together
(St. Mark xiv.). And apprehending Him, they led Him to the High Priest's
house (St. Luke xxii.). And they led Him away to Annas first, for he was father
in-law to Caiphas, who was the High Priest of that year (St. John xviii.). And they led Him to Annas first.
In these four narratives we notice that St. Matthew states that they led Him to Caiphas. St. Mark seems to agree with St. Matthew's account. He does not indeed mention Caiphas by name; but when he states that they led Him to the High Priest, and immediately adds that the Priests and Scribes and