AS JESUS WAS SPEAKING, Judas arrived, together with a crowd armed with clubs and swords, the catchpoles whom the Jewish leaders had sent to seize Jesus. To facilitate the arrest, he had agreed to identify Jesus in a casual way by kissing Him. Spying Jesus and the disciples in the shadows of the grove, he went up and kissed Him, saying, “Hail, Rabbi!” Jesus replied:
“Friend, for what purpose hast thou come? Judas, dost thou betray the Son of Man with a kiss?”
Then, confronting the Jews’ agents, He asked:
“Whom do you seek?”
“Jesus of Nazareth,” they answered. And He said:
“I am He.”
They fell back in sudden panic, but He ignored their confusion and repeated:
“Whom do you seek?”
When they replied as before, He said to them:
“I have told you that I am He. If, therefore, you seek Me, let these go their way.”
Thereupon they seized Him and held Him fast. The disciples asked Him whether they should resist, and Peter, with a sword, struck at Malchus, a hireling of the high priest, and cut off his right ear. But Jesus said:
“Bear with them thus far.”
He healed the man’s ear with a touch of His hand, then said to Peter:
“Put up thy sword into the scabbard. Shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given Me? For all those who take the sword will perish by the sword. Or dost thou suppose that I cannot entreat My Father, and He will even now furnish Me with more than twelve legions of angels? How then are the Scriptures to be fulfilled, that thus it must take place?”
Addressing His captors, He said:
“As against a robber you have come out, with swords and clubs to seize Me. When I was daily with you in the temple, you did not stretch forth your hands against Me. But this is your hour, and the power of darkness.”
The apostles now fled, and He was bound and led away.
Meditation: Before the mob that came to arrest Him, Christ stood calm. When the crowd fell back, He could have slipped away, as He had done once before. But He stayed; He permitted Himself to be taken prisoner; He was ready to offer His life for us. We, on the other hand, try to avoid every small suffering. If we would think of Christ willingly facing His executors, perhaps we would be willing to accept the small daily crosses that God allows us to suffer.
Information from The Life of Christ “Our Lord’s Life with Lesson in His Own Words for Our Life Today” The Catholic Press, Inc. 1959. 249-250. © 1954 edited by Reverend John P. O’Connell, MASTD and Jex Martin, following mainly A Chronological Harmony of the Gospels by Stephen J Hartdegen OFM NIHIL OBSTAT John A McMahon; IMPRIMATUR Samuel Cardinal Stritch, Archbishop of Chicago August 1, 1953. Print. Drawing by Albert H Winkler.