of the Passion
and the Supper at Simon's House
By Fr. Reginald Walsh, OP
TAKEN FROM HIS WORK, MEDITATION ON THE PASSION
With Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur, 1922
PRELIMINARIES OF THE PASSION
(Luke xxii. 1-6).
1st Prelude: History. ---- The feast of the unleavened bread, the Pasch, was at hand. The chief priests and scribes sought how they might put Jesus to death; but they feared the people. And Satan entered into Judas, who was surnamed Iscariot ---- one of the twelve; and he went and discoursed with the chief priests and the magistrates, how he might betray Jesus to them. And they were glad, and covenanted to give him money. And Judas promised. And he sought opportunity to betray Jesus in the absence of the world.
2nd Prelude: Composition of Place. ---- Mark how Judas absents himself from our Lord's company and the Apostles. Note his frequent visits to the city to hold intercourse with the enemies of Jesus ---- the world, and this to better himself for worldly gain.
3rd Prelude: Ask what I want. ---- To know our Lord intimately ---- best security for fidelity to Him. The soul that knows Him, loves Him ardently, and will face and conquer every difficulty to be true to Him. Light to know myself and fear myself, for I am capable of any treason. Grace to love, appreciate, and follow faithfully common life ---- best safeguard against the spirit of the world.
Points: I. The Great Council decided on the arrest of Jesus ---- "They sought how they might by some wile lay hold on Him" (Mark xiv. 1).
II. Judas sells our Lord ---- "What will you give me, and I will deliver Him unto you?" (Matt. xxvi. 15).
III. The enemies of Jesus immediately decide to kill Him ---- "And they consulted together how they might apprehend Jesus and put Him to death" (Matt. xxvi. 4).
THE GREAT COUNCIL DECIDES ON THE ARREST OF JESUS
"They sought how they might by some wile lay hold on Him."
See the persons ---- hear the words ---- study the actions, circumstances, etc. Reflect. The circumstances under which the Council decided on the arrest of Jesus were as follows:
As regards the time, it was probably on Wednesday that the Council assembled, and probably at the hour when our Lord assured His disciples that He would be crucified, on the Feast of the Pasch. "You know that after two days shall be the Pasch, and the Son of Man shall be delivered up to be crucified." The meeting-place of the Council was not, it would appear, the assembly-room in the Temple, but the palace of Caiphas the High Priest, because the decision was kept secret, and all care taken to avoid attracting attention. Nevertheless the Sanhedrin seemed to have been represented in every essential point, for the three classes ---- chief priests, ancients, and scribes ---- of which it is composed, are mentioned. It was therefore an official session. The subject of the deliberations was no longer the putting to death of Jesus ---- that had been decided upon long ago, but the manner in which it was to be accomplished ---- whether openly by force, or secretly by crafty surprise. The occurrences of the last few days, the complete defeats by which our Lord had put His enemies to shame; His increasing influence ---- all this urged them to sudden action.
The decision was ---- the arrest to be made secretly, by craft. Our Lord to be surprised and taken, when and how they could best do it. His execution was not to take place on the feast-day, but after the Pasch was over. This was because they feared the people. At the Paschal season there were great multitudes of people in Jerusalem, and the crowds were much inclined to disturbances and tumult; our Lord had many adherents among them, especially among the excitable Galileans. So the Sanhedrin feared resistance and risk, as in that case the Romans would have been forced to interfere. For this reason the arrest must be made whenever it could be done best, but secretly, and the sentence was not to be passed until after the feast-days, when the people had dispersed. Such was the decision of the Council ---- and such their dispositions for the great feast. They feared ---- not God, but the people.
What a terrible thing for a Christian to be the slave of worldly principles, of a selfish spirit, of human respect! Our Lord declares expressly and positively that He will die on the feast, and by a violent death. He knows the counsels of God and the hearts of men. No one can work against God. His Providence guards His Own. His faithful servants ---- not a hair of their head can be touched without His permission. Nothing can happen without the permission of God. What a motive to live by faith and absolute confidence ---- Jesus knows all. Let me be upright and sincere before God ---- live under His eye and fear nothing. How far am I doing this?
COLLOQUY. ---- Open my heart to Thee, my dear Master; give me courage to be fearless in Thy service. Thou art a Master worth serving! O good Jesus! how great is the love of Thy Heart for me! How unselfish Thy love! How great Thy solicitude for my happiness! Can I ever forget Thee? Can I ever love Thee enough, dear Jesus? Mother, I have need of thee! Help me to be like thee, always true to Jesus.
JUDAS SELLS OUR LORD
"What will you give me, and I will deliver Him unto you?"
What will you give me? What a terrible question! To put Jesus into competition with self! Judas entertained the thought of the betrayal of our Lord for a long time. No one falls away from nearness to Jesus on a sudden: neglect in little things gradually leads to a serious fall.
Let us consider how Judas came to take such a resolution. What were the causes?
1. The fundamental cause was probably the shallowness, untrustworthiness, and superficiality of his character. He seems to have been a man of no depth or moral stamina.
2. The second cause was his worldliness, ambition, and avarice. One can scarcely conceive of his ever having had any idea of the Kingdom of the Messiah other than that which the majority of the Jews entertained ---- a temporal king, a temporal kingdom. Judas was wholly under the influence of the worldly spirit; that spirit which is so directly opposed to the Spirit of Jesus Christ, that St. John declares, "If any man love the world, the charity of the Father is not in him" (1 John ii. 15). The world is the enemy of Jesus Christ and His Gospel. It is composed of those who centre their happiness in earthly things, detest and shun poverty, suffering, and humiliation: while they love, nay, worship wealth, pleasure, and dignity, esteeming these the only treasures worthy of man's ambition; pursuing them with unrelenting ardour and deliberately sacrificing their souls to attain them.
Our Lord Himself formally excluded the world from His last solemn prayer for His disciples on the night of His Passion. He predicted, too, that as it had hated and persecuted Him, so would it persecute and hate His followers. If we really desire a place near our Lord, we must, like our dear Master, engage in an unceasing conflict with His mortal foe. Jesus Christ is light, and the world is darkness; and as light and darkness cannot exist together ---- one casts out the other ---- so neither can our Lord and the world be one. When the spirit of the world gets entrance to our heart, our Lord is cast out, rejected; and in proportion as the Spirit of our Lord gains ground in the soul, the spirit of the world is cast out.
Judas' downfall is a sad confirmation of this great principle ---- Jesus Christ and the world are mortal enemies. By generous, persevering efforts to rid myself of everything savouring of the worldly spirit shall I make solid, genuine advance in sanctity. Perfectly to triumph over the world is not the work of a moment; therefore I must follow faithfully in the footsteps of God's servants ---- the Saints, by generous fidelity in lesser trials, and so I shall merit Divine help in more severe conflicts. Does not our dear Lord encourage and exhort us: "In the world you shall have distress; but have confidence, I have overcome the world." "Let us," says Père Grou of the Society of Jesus, "beg of our Divine Lord and Master to overcome it with and in us, destroying its reign in our hearts, to establish His Own dominion there for ever."
3. The third cause of Judas' fall was unbelief; gradually he lost the faith he had had at first. Loss of faith is the usual result of worldliness.
4. The fourth cause was the discomfort of the life led by our Lord and His disciples. Judas loved his own ease and comfort. He grew tired of the poverty of Jesus, the constant labour and journeying of Jesus, and also the disinterestedness of Jesus. Judas was absolutely selfish and acquired the habit of thieving from the purse that our Lord had entrusted to him; he tried to make use of his position for temporal ends. The private admonitions which our Lord gave Judas, our Lord's earnest, tender training of His Apostles, must have grown burdensome and intolerable to Judas. Indeed one can well imagine how the enthusiastic love and devotion of the other Apostles and friends of our Lord must have annoyed him. How exaggerated and extravagant they must have appeared to him, until at last he took a positive dislike to the presence and Person of Jesus. This dislike to the Person of Jesus showed itself plainly, when Magdalen anointed His sacred feet at Bethany. The unbelief, irreverence, and callousness of Judas on this occasion almost stun us.
A last cause ---- which, however, was at work in all the other influences ---- was the influence and seduction of the devil, which grew more and more powerful the more Judas gave way to unbelief and passion, and thus it was that his diabolical resolution matured. Under these circumstances Judas wished to see Jesus' plans thwarted and the company of the Apostles dissolved, that he might be freed from his trammels ---- and he thought he might as well gain something by it too, if possible.
How mean, cowardly, and disgraceful this act of Judas ---- he, an Apostle, a friend of Jesus, a member of His family. Judas' conduct meant no small slight shame, and no small pain to the tender, loving heart of our Lord ---- and Judas took this step quite of his own accord. He hastens to the Priests himself, and asks, in the most shameless and unblushing manner, what they will give him for his treachery. Judas knew well the men he had to deal with, and promised to deliver our Lord Jesus, his Master ---- his Benefactor, Lord ---- his God and greatest good ---- into their hands. And for what? For thirty pieces of silver ---- the price paid for killing a slave! And to whom does Judas sell his God? To His worst and most bitter enemies who lie in wait to devour Him. Judas delivers our Lord to all the tortures of His Passion and Death. Self-interest, avarice, ingratitude, cowardice, faithlessness, hard-heartedness, and cruelty are all included in this act of Judas. And oh, what pain, what deep humiliation, it brought to our dear Lord and Saviour!
Here we have serious matter for reflection ---- we must get to know ourselves. Self-knowledge is a most necessary step to the knowledge and love of Jesus ---- no one is safe until well grounded in self-knowledge. If Judas had known his own evil nature, he might have been saved. He would have distrusted and dreaded himself and clung to Jesus Who would have saved him, for He loved Judas and called him to be His disciple with the sole view of saving him. But Judas used his free-will to thwart the tender, merciful designs of Jesus ---- and no one will be saved against his will. What a terrible lesson is here given! Like Judas, we too have our evil dispositions ---- our weaknesses, which, unless known and fought against, will lead to very serious consequences.
What have I to say to my Divine Master? What grace to ask? What thanksgiving to make? What reparation, sympathy, and love to offer to the loving, patient Heart of Jesus? O most sweet Jesus, what is therefor me outside Thee? or what do I desire upon earth but Thee? God of my heart, Thou art my love. Thou art my blessedness. Thee alone shall I serve. I entreat Thee, O Lord, suffer nothing which is not Thine in my heart; if there be anything there in opposition to Thy most Holy Will, pluck it out even against my will. Keep Thy hand on me, dear Jesus my Lord and my God, lest I, too, like Thy faithless disciple, betray Thee. I wish Thee alone to possess my whole heart; Thou art my Father, my last End. O sweet Jesus, fountain of love and grace, rouse me, help me to understand how sinful and ungrateful I have been to Thee. Have pity on me, Lord Jesus, have pity on me according to the mercy of Thy loving Heart. The thought that I can yet be made holy, that I can yet become a true and loyal disciple of Thy Heart, encourages me. Help me, O Jesus most merciful, help me, give me courage; behold, dear Lord, now I begin! O Mother, I have need of thee!
THE ENEMIES OF JESUS IMMEDIATELY DECIDE TO KILL HIM
"And they consulted together how they might apprehend Jesus and put Him to death" (Matt. xxvi. 4).
Judas' proposal was just what the enemies of our Lord desired. They are very pleased to find a traitor amongst His chosen disciples; this circumstance lowered the opinion they had of our Lord. They decided at once to act and proceed to extreme measures. Judas was now bound to help them. He did so, and tried to find an opportunity to make our Lord fall into His enemies' hands quietly and without attracting attention. So he followed Jesus like a thief, dogging His steps, spying out all He did, and informing His enemies of everything ---- all the time simulating fidelity, sympathy, readiness to oblige, and the most cordial friendship. Thus our Lord had in very truth the devil at His side. Jesus read Judas' heart ---- knew everything ---- and endured all without complaint, in spite of His repugnance. He tried to warn Judas ---- to win him ---- and offers all He suffers in this particular suffering of heart for those who will in future ages have to suffer ingratitude, faithlessness, and treachery on the part of friends and relatives.
The prophets have described to us the emotions of Jesus' Heart at this time: If My enemy had reviled Me, I would verily have borne with it. And if he that hated Me had spoken great things against Me, I would have perhaps hidden Myself from him. But thou a man of one mind, My guide, and my familiar, who didst take sweet meats together with Me: in the house of God we walked with consent. The threads of the cruel plot are spun, the tragedy is about to begin. The prophecies of Jesus and the counsels of God are fulfilled, and our Lord's enemies are the instruments to carry them out. The type foreshown in the Paschal Lamb must be fulfilled; with what calm majesty our Lord sees this terrible fulfillment approaching and becoming a reality! Jesus, my Blessed Master, strengthen my will to embrace firmly and lovingly the cross in whatever shape Thy Providence provides and deems it necessary to make me Thy true and devoted servant and companion.
Who can understand Judas? Who does not look with horror on his crime, his base treachery? Can this accursed tool be an Apostle? The sight of this unhappy disciple a traitor, an apostate, at the side of Jesus is surely calculated to fill us, (1) with the fear of God; and (2) with distrust of ourselves; (3) to strengthen us in the resolution to avoid all dangerous occasions of sin or unfaithfulness to a vocation; (4) to make us persevere in humble prayer, and in the exact observance of our Catholic duties; (5) to urge us to overcome our evil passions and inordinate inclinations by generous self-conquest. If we neglect the mortification of our evil tendencies, we have much reason to fear ---- for we are capable of anything ---- no sin, no meanness, is beyond the range of possibility for us. Our safety lies in humble, close companionship with our Lord and our Immaculate Mother ---- near her we shall be true to Jesus. At any cost we must root out inordinate inclinations ---- "Blessed is he who understands what it is to love Jesus and to despise himself for the love of Jesus!"
COLLOQUY. ---- With the suffering Heart of Jesus. Pray to be faithful under every circumstance ---- "to give and not to count the cost." Love is proved by deeds, therefore let nothing come between me and my Divine Master. In difficulties, desolation, failures, temptations, "stand by our Lord" ---- cling ---- to Him. O my dear Jesus, how wretchedly unfaithful I have been to Thee! Pardon me, I entreat Thee, ah, pardon all my ingratitude, all the evil I have done ---- give me grace, O Jesus, Saviour, to redeem lost time and repair the past. Enkindle my heart with that fire of love with which Thy Heart is burning. This most hallowed flame will utterly destroy my offences and urge me to be prompt and diligent in Thy holy service. O Sacred Heart of Jesus, I believe in Thy love for me. Take, Lord, take and receive my entire liberty, all that I have, all that I am ---- everything. Give me Thy love and Thy grace and I am rich enough ---- I have nothing more to ask. O my Mother, I have need of thee ---- Mother, give me to Jesus ---- O Mary, be propitious to me.
THE SUPPER AT SIMON'S HOUSE
(Mark xiv. 3-11. John xi. 55.)
1st Prelude: History. ---- St. John gives us the circumstances in detail: Feast of Pasch at hand; roads thronged with pilgrims; much talk and inquiry about our Lord, and even search for Him before His arrival at Bethany, especially on the part of the ill-disposed. The disturbance was increased by the High Priests' secret orders ---- that whoever became acquainted with the whereabouts of Jesus was to give information of it in order that they might arrest Him. The Pharisees took care to make known this measure of the authorities ---- "They sought therefore for Jesus; and they discoursed one with another standing in the Temple: what think you, that He is not come to the festival day? And the Chief Priests and Pharisees had given a commandment, that if any man knew where He was, he should tell, that they might apprehend Him" (John xi. 56).
Thus all preparations were made, and snares set. Jesus' obedience to the law was to lead Him into the trap. In spite of all these circumstances, clearly known to Jesus, He came to Bethany six days before the Feast of the Pasch ---- that is, on the Friday before His Passion.
2nd Prelude: Composition of Place. ---- Bethany, the house of our Lord's true friends. He knew He was always welcome there. (Bethany means the house of obedience ---- the soul where true supernatural obedience reigns is always open to receive our Lord.) Let us keep close to, our Lord and note all present ---- who are for, and who against Jesus. Mark the love of our Lord for Magdalen. And why?
3rd Prelude: Ask what I want. ---- Intimate knowledge. Never weary of asking this priceless grace. Ask courage to be most faithful to our dear Lord; to conquer determinately and perseveringly human respect and every difficulty I may meet in His Divine service.
Points: I. The supper at Bethany.
II. Disgraceful conduct of Judas.
III. Gratitude of Jesus.
THE SUPPER AT BETHANY
"The noble love of Jesus impelleth us to do great things, and exciteth us always, to desire that which is the more perfect."
See the persons; hear the words; note the actions. Reflect and draw profit from all.
First, Our dear Lord and Master. Probably Jesus went to stay with Lazarus and spent the Sabbath there. On this Sabbath, however, He received an invitation to dine at the house of Simon the leper, who was probably a friend and neighbour of Lazarus' family, and a disciple of our Lord's. It was there then that the banquet was held. Lazarus was amongst the guests. Martha and Mary and their attendants undertook to wait on them.
There are three important points about this feast or supper: (1) The beautiful act of Mary; (2) the disgraceful conduct of Judas; and (3) our Lord's behaviour to them both.
See Magdalen. This supper at Simon's house was remarkable for Mary's act of devotion to our Divine Lord. She brought an alabaster box of ointment of precious spikenard, and poured it on His head as He sat at table, then on His feet. Her gift was very pleasing to our Lord for three reasons: (a) She gave of her best; (b) she gave out of pure love; (c) she gave in presence of the assembled guests, fearlessly, and knowing that men would ridicule and blame her.
Let us study this action of Mary ---- "Love often knoweth no measure, but grows fervent above all measure. It can achieve anything; and it doth perform and effect many things, where he that loveth not fainteth and falleth prostrate." In Mary's act we note three qualities of special beauty:
1. Her generosity. She reserved for herself the privilege of showing honour to the Divine Guest, and had bought for this purpose a pound of the purest and most costly spikenard in an alabaster box for three hundred pence ---- about ten pounds or fifty dollars ---- as Judas, the expert, had rightly estimated. These boxes, or rather vases, were generally made with a long, slender neck sealed up, which had to be broken off when using the ointment. So Mary broke the vase, poured some on Jesus' head, and anointed His feet with the remainder. She did all that generosity could do.
2. She reveals her loving humility, washing Jesus' feet with her tears and wiping them with her hair. She shows by this not only humility, generosity, gratitude, and reverence, but her deep faith and religious veneration for Jesus. One does not treat a mere man in this manner, but God alone.
3. It was an act of homage shown to Him as God ---- Who can fathom the fervour, love, and devotion with which she did it? The house, St. John tells us, was filled with the odour of the ointment ---- a figure of the effect of love and generosity on the soul. I can model my daily life on this example ---- "Love when wearied is not tired; when straitened is not constrained; when frightened is not disturbed; but like a vivid flame and a burning torch, it mounts upwards, and securely passes through all." It says, O my God, my Love, Thou art all mine, and I am all Thine. Lord Jesus, enlarge Thou me in love, that I may learn to taste with the interior mouth of the heart how sweet it is to love, and to be dissolved and to bathe in love. O Jesus, my dear Master, what marvellous, what Divine mercy and love Thou dost show to me! How good Thou art to look on me and permit me to belong to Thee. And ---- lest, perhaps, I might doubt whether it be allowed to me, a wretched creature, to aspire to a place in Thy Divine Heart ---- Thou hast commanded me to love Thee. And shall I not, O most sweet Jesus, love Thee? Shall I not hold Thee supremely dear? Yes, O dear Lord, with all my heart will I love Thee; with all my strength will I live for Thee. All that I am, all I possess, all I desire in this world, is Thy love and Thy grace, and I am rich enough, I have nothing more to ask ---- Amorem Tui solum!
Mary, Mother of Divine love, Mother of Jesus, turn thine eyes of mercy towards me. O Mary Immaculate! make my heart like unto thine, then I shall be able to see Jesus, and from seeing Him, to know and love Him. Mother, I have need of thee. Give me to Jesus!
DISGRACEFUL CONDUCT OF JUDAS
"Where a man seeketh himself, there he falleth from love."
Note the behaviour of Judas. His conduct on this occasion forms an unworthy, nay a disgraceful contrast to Mary's. The love and religious veneration shown by her to our Lord annoys him, he considers it unfounded and excessive. It is nothing but hypocrisy, when he says that the ointment would have procured alms for the poor ---- "Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor?" "Now, he said this, not because he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and having the purse, carried the things that were put therein" (John xii. 5-6). Judas' words were prompted by a low, mean disposition, indifference, unbelief, and aversion to our Saviour; he murmurs, reproves, and calls it senseless waste: "To what purpose was this waste?" (Matt. xxvi. 8). It was pure covetousness and a desire of theft. Judas kept the money given to our Lord and His disciples for the poor, and stole from the bag; he only wished Mary had given the price of the ointment, because he might have kept a part or the whole of it for himself. Judas makes himself the mouthpiece of discontent, and disguises his ill-humour under a hypocritical semblance of charity. Mercenary, covetous, crafty, coarse and selfish, his heart had remained impervious to the teachings and the influence of Jesus; all the holiness and love of Jesus had not altered him ---- he hardened his heart against, grace and remained unsubdued by the goodness of God.
Our Lord cannot bear anyone to be unjustly accused, and now He takes Magdalen's part: "Let her alone," He says, "she has wrought a good work upon Me. For the poor you have always with you; but Me you have not always. She is come beforehand to anoint My body for the burial." Did Magdalen understand our Lord's words? It is certain she did not. For she and the other holy women went to the Tomb in order to anoint the body of Jesus. Did she know that the Sacred body of our Lord would be dead before the fragrance of her spikenard had left it? A penitent like Mary gets very near the Sacred Heart ---- "Blessed is he who," like her, "knows what it is to love Jesus, and to despise himself for the love of Jesus."
Picture to yourself our Lord's feelings as Judas uttered these words: "Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor?" See the indignation of Peter, John, and the other disciples, as they hear the words of Judas. What would I have felt had I been present, and known and loved our Lord as these faithful, devoted servants loved Him? What would I have done? I do well to ask, have I ever acted in a like disloyal manner towards my Divine Master? What atonement have I made ---- what loving reparation for my insincerity in His service? What ought I to do? What have I to say to Him now?
COLLOQUY. ---- O my dear Lord, how often I have been disloyal and most ungrateful to Thee. Have pity on me, my Jesus, pardon the past. Lord, if Thou wilt, Thou canst make me Thy true and devoted servant ---- that is my one desire. O Jesus, Master, kindle in my heart the fire which Thou camest to cast on earth, that I may love Thee more ardently, that I may be more perfectly conformed to Thee, that I may follow Thee more closely.
O Mother of Jesus, I implore of thee to cover me with the mantle of thy Immaculate purity, that so I may be able to love thy Divine Son more absolutely. Renew me wholly, I entreat thee, my dear Mother; help me to get rid of my slothful, ungenerous, cowardly spirit; win for me, O my Mother, a fulness of the Holy Spirit, that He may cleanse my heart, and inflame it with an ever-increasing, an ever-glowing love ---- ever cheerful ---- a love that will never suffer me to grow sluggish; but urge me on strongly and gently to a more perfect imitation of thyself, who art the Mother of Divine love, and my own dear Mother too. O Mother, be propitious to me ---- give me Jesus.
Enlighten me, O good Jesus, with the brightness of internal light, and cast out all darkness from the dwelling of my heart. Lift up my heart to Thee, and suffer me not to wander from Thee. Be Thou, my Jesus, my Blessed Lord and Master; be Thou alone pleasing to me, henceforth for ever more. Turn into bitterness for me all carnal consolation; make me, Lord Jesus, a true and loyal servant ---- ready to suffer and die for Thee.
GRATITUDE OF JESUS
"I know Mine and Mine know Me."
Notice the gratitude of the Heart of Jesus. A little box of ointment poured on His feet earns for the donor a commemoration of her gift wherever the Gospel shall be preached in the whole world ---- "Amen I say to you, wheresoever this Gospel shall be preached in the whole world, that also which she hath done shall be told for a memory of her" (Matt. xxvi. 13).
And not only this: it obtains for her also many graces on earth and great glory in Heaven. There is no one so grateful as Jesus Christ: no one who will reward with such Divine generosity everything done from love of Him. Nothing will be forgotten, nothing is too small to be noticed and richly recompensed by Him ---- our dear Lord! Let me watch and try to understand our Lord's love for souls wholly devoted to Him.
Jesus first takes Mary's part against Judas: "Let her alone, why do you molest her?" (John xii. 7). "Our God is a faithful God" ---- He will always stand by those who are devoted to Him. I have nothing to fear from my enemies ---- the devil, the world, or my own evil inclinations, if I am devoted to Him like Mary.
Secondly, Jesus expressly declares that she has "wrought a good work upon Him," and proves it by refuting the objection made on behalf of the poor ---- "The poor you have always with you; but Me you have not always." Jesus is poor and stands far above all other poor; indeed, it is only for His sake that people do good to them, and now it is the very time to perform good works for Him, since He is about to go away, whilst the poor never leave us. Jesus develops from this last thought a very touching motive to account for Mary's action in His regard. She has anointed Him for His burial as the Evangelists, St. Matthew and St. Mark, plainly tell us.
It appears that Mary did not know the deep meaning of this anointing beforehand. At all events her loving heart in this matter obeyed the inspiration of Providence.
The manner in which Mary and Judas are represented in this incident affords us matter for deep thought and earnest consideration. How different, how entirely opposite, are the paths they tread! Where did they both begin and where do they end? Judas, the Apostle, chosen friend and companion of Jesus ---- now an unbeliever, a thief, and a traitor. Magdalen, a poor sinner notorious for her evil life ---- now the generous disciple of Jesus, glowing with love for Him! Alas, how often it happens that whilst some rise from the lowest depth to holiness, others fall from Heaven to Hell! How great reason we all have to dread and distrust our own inconstant nature, and to strive earnestly to keep close to our Lord and our Immaculate Mother. See how gently, calmly, and with what moderation Jesus defends His own cause and Mary's against this base man and his reproach.
What did Judas deserve? Yet how quietly and tenderly Jesus speaks! Calvary and the sepulchre are ever present to Him, and yet how patient, how loving, how large-hearted Jesus is in His dealings with the traitor! Oh, tender, compassionate Heart of Jesus, make my heart like to Thine! What precious lessons Jesus, my Divine Master, here gives me.
COLLOQUY. ---- What have I to say to our Lord? What would I have said and done had I been present? Let me offer Jesus all the love and sympathy of my heart and beg courage, strength of will, and fidelity to Him, under all circumstances, till death. Remember, love is proved by deeds. How true a friend Jesus is to His own! Shall I not, like Magdalen, be true to Him ---- give of my best; give fearlessly and from purest love?
Ask this grace from the loving Heart of Jesus through the Immaculate Heart of Mary ---- "Mother, I have need of thee!"