The subject offered to our consideration, on this Second Sunday, is one of the utmost importance for the holy Season. The Church applies to us the lesson which our Saviour gave to three of his Apostles. Let us endeavour to be more attentive to it than they were.
My soul is sorrowful even unto death: stay you here, and watch with me.
Jesus was about to pass from Galilee into Judea, that he might go up to Jerusalem, and be present at the Feast of the Pasch. It was that last Pasch, which was to begin with the immolation of the figurative lamb, and end with the sacrifice of the Lamb of God. who taketh away the sins of the world. Jesus would have his disciples know him. His works had borne testimony to him, even to those who were, in a manner, strangers to him; but as for his Disciples. had they not every reason to be faithful to him, even to death? Had they not listened to his words, which had such power with them, that they forced conviction? Had they not experienced his love, which it was impossible to resist? and had they not seen how patiently he had borne with their strange and untoward ways? Yes, they must have known him. They had heard one of their company, Peter, declare that he was the Christ, the Son of the Living God. (Matthew 16:16) Notwithstanding this, the trial to which their faith was soon to be put, was to be of such a terrible kind, that Jesus would mercifully arm them against temptation by an extraordinary grace.
The Cross was to be a scandal and stumbling block (1 Corinthians 1:23) to the Synagogue, and, alas! to more than it. Jesus said to his Apostles, at the Last Supper: All of you shall be scandalized in me this night. (Matthew 26:31) Carnal-minded as they then were, what would they think, when they should see him seized by armed men, handcuffed, hurried from one tribunal to another, and he doing nothing to defend himself! And when they found, that the High Priests and ‘Pharisees, who had hitherto been so often foiled by the wisdom and miracles of Jesus, had now succeeded in their conspiracy against him, — what a shock to their confidence! But, there was to be something more trying still: the people, who, but a few days before, greeted him so enthusiastically with their Hosannas, would demand his execution, and he would have to die, between two thieves, on the Cross, amidst the insults of his triumphant enemies[…]
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