“We had all gone astray like sheep, each following his own way; but the Lord laid upon him the guilt of us all.”
But what is most striking about the scene in Gethsemani is not the betrayal of Judas, but the wandering of the other apostles. Only two continued to follow Jesus after his arrest, Peter and John, who the Scriptures call the disciple whom Jesus loved. They follow Jesus, bound and carried away from the soldiers, at a distance: their faith is wavering. And we know that before the night is over, Peter denies his Lord and Savior three times.
It is only John, the Beloved Disciple, who continues to journey with Jesus. It is John who is beneath the cross with our Blessed Mother Mary. We can be sure that even at the Cross, John, the youngest of the apostles, perhaps in his early twenties at this time, did not understand the death of his Master. He wept for his Lord but could not fully understand what was taking place there on Calvary.
We know that of the apostles, only one did not become a martyr, and that apostle was Saint John. It was he who had been faithful to the Lord’s Cross, who had shared Our Lord’s death not at the end of his life, but near the beginning. And throughout the rest of his life as an apostle he prayed deeply about this great gift, this great sacrifice that Christ made. Throughout the rest of St. John’s life, as he continued to serve others, his mind turned back, year after year, to that Good Friday and the hill of Calvary, where the love and the glory of God were most clearly revealed.
And through the Eucharist which Christ had given John the power to celebrate for the sake of others, Saint John was able to enter into that scene once again, to return to that day which is today, and to that hill of Calvary.
There is no offering of the sacrifice of the Mass on Good Friday, and yet still we are able to share in the fruits of that sacrifice. As we enter into Holy Communion with Our Lord, let us turn our minds again to the sacrifice of Calvary, and the love in Christ’s Sacred Heart which allowed Him to offer it for our salvation.