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And they were on the way going up to Jerusalem. And
Jesus went before them, and they were astonished; and following were afraid (St. Mark x. 32). A. And Jesus went before them.
• Attendite." Stay a little while to watch our Lord quickening His pace and walking ahead of His disciples. Why is He hastening? When many are travelling together on foot, if the spirit of charity reigns, the stronger accommodate their pace to the wants of the weaker ones. We may be sure that this ordinarily would be our Saviour's practice. Why then this exception ? He has already furnished the answer. He has told us His secret. I have a baptism wherewith I am to be baptised, and how am I straitened until it be accomplished (St. Luke xii. 50). As the time draws near, His suppressed desires are breaking forth.
Daniel by his desires abbreviated the days of captivity. The yearnings of our Blessed Lord hasten the coming of the good time. Later, during His dark agony, when He allowed fear and desolation to come to His Sacred Heart, still all the while He was longing and thirsting for the hour in which His Sacred Blood should begin to flow for our salvation.
This desire, this straitening of the Heart of our Lord, is still further explained by His other word : I came to cast fire on the earth, and what will I but that it be kindled ? (St. Luke xii.).
Till His Sacred Blood is shed, the fire of love which He longs for will not spread. As He walks in haste, therefore, His loving Heart is saying to His Father with the holy impatience of charity: Thou shalt arise and have mercy on Sion : for it is time to have mercy on it, for the time is come (Psalm ci. 14).
O, what will be the gratitude of our Blessed Saviour to every one who helps Him to spread the Divine fire which He longs so much to see enkindled !
Consider, too, that when we bear pain with patience, though all the while we are wishing for relief, He rewards and blesses us for this resignation. And yet how far distant is this patience of our infirmity from His own hunger and thirst to suffer for our salvation !
His most compassionate and grateful Heart makes so much of all our weak efforts. Magdalen's devotion at His sacred feet is to be preached wherever the Gospel of His own Life and sacred Death is preached. Quis sicut Dominus Deus noster ? (Psalm cxii.). Fac cor amans Jesu mei, Fac ut nos amemus Te.
B. And they were astonished, and following were afraid.
A fortnight before, when Jesus proposed to go to Bethany to raise Lazarus from his sleep, the Apostles remonstrated. They well knew what their Master had to fear from the implacable malice of the Pharisees and Rulers. Now, this great miracle has added fresh fuel to the raging fire, and the danger is much greater and more imminent. They have reason to be frightened when they see their Divine Master hurrying forward to meet such enmity. Anima Christi, sanctifica me; Passio Christi, conforta
Sacred Heart of Jesus, give us some share of that love which is strong as death.
STATION II. Then Jesus took unto Him the Twelve, and said to them :
Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things shall be accomplished which were written by the Prophets concerning the Son of Man. For He shall be betrayed to the Chief Priests and Scribes; and they shall condemn Him to death: and shall deliver Him to the Gentiles, to be mocked, scourged, and crucified: and the third day He shall rise again. And they understood none of these things; and this word was hid from them, and they understood not the things that were said (St. Matt. xx.; St. Luke xviii. ; St. Mark x.).
A. Note here the circumstances of the Passion which are most impressed upon our Lord's mind.
(1) He shall be betrayed by His own Apostle to His enemies, the Chief Priests and Scribes; (2) they shall condemn Him to death; (3) they, the Rulers of His own people, shall deliver Him up to the Gentiles, to aliens who have no sympathy or kindness at all for Him; (4) to be mocked ; (5) and scourged; (6) and crucified.
This short sentence includes the whole terrible story. Our Lord has every detail present to His mind and Heart.
B. Let us remember also that all this intimate and accurate and complete knowledge of every circumstance of His Sacred Passion has been present to our Saviour from the first moment of His Incarnation. And a great part of this overwhelming secret He has, no doubt, disclosed to His Most Holy Mother during those hours when after the work of the day they sat together in the evening in the Holy House at Nazareth. Then was her heart burning while He explained to her what was written concerning Him by Moses and the Prophets. For surely, if in the days of old the Lord, when about to chastise the crimes of Sodom, said : Can I hide from Abraham what I am about to do? (Genesis xviii.), we cannot believe that He would hide from Holy Mary all that He was about to do and she was about to share in—to the end, to the very end. Her grace was growing, her merit was being multiplied exceedingly every hour of her life by this foreknowledge.
The Sacred Passion was, therefore, not merely the work of one day and one night. It was lifelong. Every day and every hour He could most truly say, and she could unite with her Son's words: My Heart hath expected, and is expecting, reproach and misery (Psalm lxviii.).
Has He not good reason to say to us, Remember Me: Forget not the kindness of thy Surety ? (Ecclus. xxix.). Even if we do no more for Him, at the very least should not our remembrance of Him be lifelong? If I forget thee, O Jerusalem (O Calvary), let my right hand be forgotten. Let my tongue cleave to my jaws if I do not remember thee. If I make not Jerusalem the beginning of my joy (Psalm cxxxvi.).
C. And they understood none of these things, and the word was hid from them.
The inspired author of the Book of Wisdom says to God: With what circumspection hast Thou judged Thy own children (c. xii.). That is, with the most loving and compassionate care He considers every circumstance that is in their favour. But it is not only when He is judging, but at all times and everywhere we find our Lord full of this tender care and circumspection for His disciples and the people who stand about (St. John xi.). Though they at present understand not, yet He utters this clear prophecy of His Death and Resurrection, in order that afterwards when they call to mind how He had clearly foretold all that He was to suffer, their terrified souls may be strengthened by the remembrance of the prophecy.
He well knows, however, how troubled and full of fear their hearts are at this moment, and He takes care that His words do not so add to their terror as to do them harm. The bruised reed He shall not break (St. Matt. xii. 20). Therefore this word was hid from them.
D. This word was hid from them.
Consider too that there are times when, much against His will, our most compassionate Saviour is obliged to leave us in blindness and hide His words from us. When weeping over Jerusalem, His lament was: If thou hadst known, but now these things are hidden from thy eyes (St. Luke xix.). He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them (St. John xii.).
O Lord, chastise me in other ways; but not in Thy wrath by blindness of heart
Then came to Him the mother of the sons of Zebedee with
her two sons, adoring, and asking something of Him
(St. Matt. xx. 20). And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Him,
saying: Master, we desire that whatsoever we shall ask, Thou wouldst do it for us. But He said to them : What
would you that I should do for you ? (St. Mark x. 35, 36). And she said to Him (and they said): Grant to us that we
may sit (that my two sons may sit) one on Thy right hand and one on Thy left hand in Thy glory (St. Matt. xx.; St. Mark x.).
A. How fully St. Luke's words are verified: They understood not the things that were said. Our Lord is telling the story of His Passion in all its details, and eagerly hurrying on to suffering and death: but these two Apostles, with their mother, are full of desire to have joy and glory without the suffering, and are plotting secretly that they may have a larger and better share than their brethren. What a contrast, Lord Jesus, between the love of Thy humble Heart and the selfishness of ours ! What a contrast, too, between these Apostles as they are now, and as they will be after the Sacred Passion has borne all its fruit in years to come, when this same John, the disciple whom Jesus loved, so often repeats in his venerable old age his golden sermon, “ Little children, love one another”.
B. How often our desires are like to theirs ! indeed with Holy Church, Nobis quoque peccatoribus, that is, “Grant, O Lord, to us sinners some part and fellowship with Thy martyrs ”; but our interpretation of the prayer not unfrequently is: “Grant us, O Lord, fellowship with Thy martyrs in Heaven"; yes! but if some fellowship with them in their sufferings here on earth is proposed to us necessary preparation for partnership with them in Heaven, are our hearts ready to accept the