Sivut kuvina
PDF
ePub

stewards and given to relatives and friends places and offices which God never intended them to have.

The mother of the two Apostles was probably cherishing a fond hope that the rights of kin would secure for them high positions. Our Saviour sets a holier thought before them. “ Though all power is given to Me, yet at the same time I and the Father are one (St. John x.). His will is My will; therefore My work on earth is to dispense offices not to kinsmen, but to those whom He has destined for them.”

Thus, therefore, all delegates of our Lord in Church and State are to be wise and faithful stewards, and not to give to relatives and friends places which God has not intended them to have.

[ocr errors]

STATION V. And the ten hearing it, were moved to indignation against

the two brethren, and began to be much displeased with Fames and John (St. Mark x.; St. Matt. xx.).

A. Who told the ten this news which displeased them so much, and made them indignant? We know not. That it was not our Blessed Saviour, we may doubtless be quite sure. St. James says truly that the tongue is a restless evil; a world of iniquity. What do I gain by running about and telling others news that makes them angry, and bitter, and full of uncharitable thoughts ?

The Psalmist says: I am partner with all who fear Thee, O Lord (Psalm cxviii.). How wise it is to traffic in this way! I multiply my own graces by being glad at the good done by others. I become partner in their good. Surely a most easy and pleasant way of growing rich in grace is to become partners with the holy. Our Lord has, in His infinite goodness, given us this attractive method of winning grace. Tobias invited to his table those who feared God, and thus became a partner in their holiness (c. ii.). But what madness it is, when we have already our own many sins weighing us down, to increase our load a thousand-fold by becoming partners in the sins of others. If my tongue utters words that make ten other men bitter and angry or uncharitable, by that word I become partner with ten other sinners.

B. The ten, however, had no cause to be angry, or troubled. No harm was to come to them. The prayer

of James and John had not prevailed. If James and John had secured to themselves the best places unfairly, Peter and the others might have been disturbed ; but they have lost nothing, and the sons of Zebedee have gained nothing. The only sufferers so far are the two who made this selfish petition. The ten suffer no harm till they become angry, and so harm themselves.

They ought to have pitied James and John, and prayed for them that our Lord might renew a right spirit within them. This is what they would certainly have done in sirnilar circumstances later on in their lives, after the coming down of the Holy Ghost. And this is what we must do.

I say to you that hear : Love your enemies : do good to them that hate you. Bless them that curse you, and pray for them that calumniate you (St. Luke vi.). This invaluable secret our Lord whispers into every soul that will hear.

“Grant us, O Lord, grace to be among those who listen to Thy voice."

“I never knew what it was to be light-hearted,” a young man said in the flower of his youth, “till I was induced to practise this counsel of our Lord by praying earnestly for all who annoyed me. I now have not one enemy in the whole world.”

The devil will be very loth to bring annoyances to those who turn them into precious pearls by this charitable method of praying earnestly for those who ill treat them.

[ocr errors]

STATION VI.

But Jesus called them to Him, and said : You know that

the princes of the Gentiles lord it over them ; and they that are greater exercise power over them. It shall not be so among you : but whoever will be greater among you let him be your minister. And he that shall be first among you shall be your servant (St. Matt. xx. 25—27). A. The princes of the Gentiles lord it over them.

victis—Woe to the conquered,” was a received maxim in the old world. The conqueror was to crush the conquered mercilessly, to heap shame and sorrow on them, in order to add pomp to his own triumph.

Let our strength be the law of justice, the men of the world say, for that which is feeble is found to be nothing worth (Wisdom ii.).

The wild ass is the lion's prey in the desert, so also the poor are devoured by the rich. And as humility is an abomination to the proud, so also the rich man abhorreth the poor (Ecclus. xiii.).

Man when he was in honour did not understand (Psalm xlviii.). That is, when a man is placed on a pinnacle, in a high position, pride often renders him giddy and most foolish. He acts as if he were no longer a man, but a god, and thus becomes as low as the brute beast. He is compared to senseless beasts, and is become like to them (Psalm xlviii.). What wonder that God established that rule: To him that is little, mercy is granted, but the mighty shall be mightily tormented ! (Wisdom vi.).

On this point, as on so many others, Jesus, meek and humble of Heart, has made all things new (Apoc. xxi.). One of the greatest miracles of the Christian Church is that in private family life, and in public life, and in the Church, they that are first are so often seen serving their brethren. He that shall be first shall be your servant.

SCENE II.

OUTSIDE JERICHO.

STATION I.

Now it came to pass when He drew nigh to Jericho, that a

certain man sat by the way begging (St. Luke xviii. 35). And they came to Jericho. And as he went out of Jericho with

His disciples and a very great multitude, Bartimeus, the blind man, the son of Timeus, sat by the way begging

(St. Mark x. 46). And when they went out of Jericho, a great multitude followed

Him. And behold two blind men sitting by the way (St. Matt. xx. 29, 30).

I. Observe. When He drew nigh to Jericho (St. Luke xviii.). As He went out of Jericho (St. Mark x.). When He went out from Jericho (St. Matt. xx.).

St. Chrysostom, in his Preface to St. Matthew, observes that if the Evangelists had agreed in every small detail, enemies would have said that they simply copied one another; whereas now, their discrepancies help to prove that they are independent witnesses. These discrepancies, however, when carefully studied, can generally be brought sufficiently into harmony. If we knew all the circumstances, we should easily reconcile the narratives.

In this instance, besides this discrepancy: When He drew nigh to Jericho (St. Luke) and as He went out (St. Mark), we have also this other:

II. A certain man sat by the way begging (St. Luke); Behold two blind men sitting by the way (St. Matt.); Bartimeus, the blind man, sat by the way begging (St. Mark).

Were there then two blind men or one ? Some commentators think three in all; one as they went in, two as they came out. All agree that there were two, at least, and that probably Bartimeus, the son of Timeus, was more known than the other, and is therefore specially mentioned.

With regard to the question whether our Lord worked the miracle before going into Jericho, or as He came out, some modern writers offer this suggestion. There were, they say, two towns of Jericho close to each other, one the old town, destroyed by Josue and rebuilt by Hiel of Bethel, who, according to Josue's prophecy, lost his first-born son when he laid the foundations, and his youngest when he set up the gates (3 Kings xvi. 34). The other, the new town, the magnificent work of Herod the Great and his son, Archelaus. If the miracle was worked between these two towns, it might be said to be as He came out of the old town, and as He was going into the more important new town.

Another answer is given by Father à Lapide and others, that the blind man mentioned by St. Luke begged for his cure when our Lord was entering, but did not obtain it till next day when He was going out. But perhaps the best solution is Father Coleridge's, who thinks that there were two cures, one as our Lord went in (St. Luke), and the other as He came out (St. Mark), and that St. Matthew, according to his usual practice, mentions the two together, intending to record what was substantial and important without emphasising time or place.

Jericho, with the large plain round it which stretches from the mountains of Judea to the Jordan, was like a green spot in a desert. On account of the abundance and variety of its fruit-trees, it was called “the garden of perfumes”. It is said that when snow was falling in Jerusalem, the inhabitants of Jericho ould wear their summer clothing.

Che town is supposed to have stood about six or seven miles from the Jordan. Scarcely a vestige remains above ground at the present day. The English Jordan Hotel, the Russian Hospice, and a few huts now represent this ancient city of merchants.

Station II.

And when he (the blind man) heard the multitude passing by,

he asked what this meant; and they told him that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by (St. Luke xviii. 36, 37).

A. He heard the multitude. St. Mark says, a very great multitude. Our Blessed Lord's Sacred Heart is drawing as many as He can to Him on this last journey, as the hen gathereth her chickens under her wings (St. Matt. xxiii.). He is multiplying works of mercy, knowing, as He said Himself, that the night cometh in which no man can work (St. John ix.). Are we imitating Him ?

As life passes are we growing more and more heedful of St. Peter's warning word : Wherefore, brethren, labour the more that by good works you make your calling and election sure ? (2 St. Peter i.).

B. They told him that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by. How many, alas! there are who, if told that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by, would give no heed! They

« EdellinenJatka »