|"It is easier to forgive an enemy than to forgive a friend." William Blake|
Of course! His hard words to them reflect that love. You don't bother admonishing people you don't love. You pursue, even with challenging words, those you want to save. And think about it, they were among the first Jesus ministered to -- when He was only twelve years old:
When he was twelve years old, they went up to the festival, according to the custom. 43 After the festival was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. 44 Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. 45 When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. 46 After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions.47 Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. (Luke 2:41-47)Was Gamaliel among the teachers? He would later urge the pharisees not to persecute the apostles because if their preaching about the risen Lord was bogus it would disappear, but if it was from Yahweh they would find themselves fighting against God.
I wonder -- Did Jesus suffer most over those closest to him who rejected or betrayed Him? Did the thorns pierce most deeply over them? Think of His grief when a member of His inner circle betrayed Him to his vicious enemies or when so many of His disciples walked away after the teaching on the Eucharist saying, "Who can accept this?" Jesus looked at the rich young man with great love. How much did he suffer when, so attached to his possessions, the young man refused the invitation to become one of Jesus' intimates?
And then there was the man he healed by the pool of Bethsaida. Instead of expressing gratitude for his healing, he ran to report Jesus to the pharisees giving them more ammunition in their plot to kill the Savior.
But the greatest grief of all must have been the eleven who ran away in the garden, followed by Peter's treachery when he cursed and swore, "I don't even know the man." They were his brothers, friends of the heart! How painful those rejections must have been! Did they magnify the pain of the scourging and the pain of the nails driven into his hands and feet and the thorns piercing His scalp?
I've reflected a lot on suffering and loss these past eleven months with the deaths of my grandson and my two brothers. What an invitation it is this Holy Week to unite my sufferings to Christ's and to Mother Mary who stayed so faithfully at the foot of the cross embracing everything being experienced by her Son.
Draw me into your passion, O Lord, and help me to embrace my sufferings and unite them to Yours.
O my betrayed Jesus, have mercy on us.
Our Lady of Sorrows, pray for us.