A meditation by Brother E.B. Wakeham, CFC
“What will you give me? What shall be my pay
If I deliver him to you? It’s worth how much I pray?”
Pharisees pay well. “Thirty pieces of silver,” they say.
Judas made his bargain, started on his way,
And wondered how his Christ he might conveniently betray.
The tricky traitor feigned his love and stayed by Jesus’ side.
He fooled the other disciples but from Christ he could not hide.
“The Son of Man indeed must die, but the traitor, woe betide.”
“Is it I, Lord?” Judas asked. “Thou has said it,” Christ replied.
The Iscariot left the supper scene, and it was dark outside.
Jesus thought of you and me, and, of course, of yours and mine;
He instituted the Eucharist to remain with us in time.
Into His sacred Body and Blood He changed the bread and wine
And He bade the Apostles do the same with wheat and fruit of vine
That men for ever after on His Flesh and Blood might dine..
Then unto the Mount of Olives with aching heart He went;
He warned them of desertion but they were all quite bent
On following Him forever – even if death is meant.
And Peter asserted boldly that even if he should die,
Why, he’d welcome death quite gladly, but His Master he’d ne’er deny.
“Even if all be scandalized – yet,” he cried “not I.”
In the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus knelt and wept,
His human nature feared the date with death it kept.
Meanwhile His gallant followers, while he kept vigil, slept.
Then faithless Judas appeared once more, and with him quite a crowd
Of men and boys, with swords and clubs, but when Christ spoke, they cowed.
Judas came quite close to Christ, kissed Him, and then bowed.
Christ was soon surrounded , the disciples in terror fled,
Forgetful of the promise of the blood they said they’d shed,
While to the high priest, Caiphas, the Master now was led.
“I adjure thee by the living God, art Thou His only Son?”
Asked Caiphas, and when Christ replied, “I am,” he screamed, “Tis done!
He hath blasphemed. You all have heard. Of witnesses we need none.”
While He was there in the High Priest’s hall, Peter was just outside
Warming himself at the fire, and three times his Christ denied;
Then suddenly, when he heard
cock-crow, Peter broke down and cried.
When Pilate asked the evil on which the Lord was bent,
They chanted: “Crucify Him! He is a malcontent.”
And Pilate looked at Jesus in strangest wonderment.
Then someone offhand mentioned Christ came from Galilee,
The problem was his no longer, now Herod’s it would be.
So the Lord was dragged to Herod who wanted eagerly to see
The Man he’d heard so much about, and he laughed mockingly.
And he put on the Christ a garment all white,
To make him a fool, a ridiculous sight;
Christ said not a word in spite of His plight.
Back to Pilate again went the innocent Man,
Pilate still found no guilt; Christ had broken no ban.
The Pharisees, demanding blood, amongst the crowd ran.
The governor then smiled – he had thought of a trick
To fool Jewish priests and their evil schemes slick;
He would free the feast-prisoner, “Your choice,” he said,
The crowd roared: “Barabbas!” and Pilate felt sick.
Then someone said, “Release this Man, and you’re not Caesar’s friend”
And that was just what was needed to make bold Pilate bend.
So the innocent Christ Jesus to a horrible death he did send.
Meanwhile, from the bitter betrayer, a cry of despair had been wrung;
He’d returned the ancients’ money, at their feet the silver flung,
And very shortly after, from a tree his body hung.
The proud Roman soldiers now had a great field-day:
First they scourged their victim in their own cruel way,
Then on His head sharp, jagged thorns they lay;
They sit and they cuffed and they did what they may,
But the meek and guileless Jesus, not a word did say.
On Christ’s bloodied back the cross then was laid,
Towards Calvary’s Hill a procession was made,
And Our Lord fell quite often – His strength must needs fade.
The bearing of the mighty cross seemed too much for His frame,
So the forced a man to help, Simon of Cyrene by name,
In time and in eternity this is Simon’s claim to fame.
When they reached the top of Calvary the sun began to dim;
Some wondered very thoughtfully – Was this because of Him?
Then they heard the crash of a hammer –
A huge spike pierced a limb.
For three long, suffering hours, our King was framed in the sky.
As He hung there in His agony, He was heard to breathe a cry.
“Father forgive them,” was what He said, “these are they for whom I die.”
He prayed thus for the very ones who Him did crucify,
Who in His horrible agony, stood grinning just nearby.
“Come down from the cross, we’ll then believe,” the Pharisees all jeered,
And many there were who mocked Him who on other occasions cheered;
Which gave great joy to priests and scribes who laughed with glee and leered.
But there were some who had some sense, and Deicide they feared.
Two thieves were crucified with Christ – He was between the two,
One of the thieves cried, “Save yourself – and oh! yes, save us too.”
The other thief reprimanded him, “Our sentence was right and true,
But this Man has no evil done, this fate is not His due.
Remember me, Lord he pleaded, “Paradise,” Christ said, “is for you.”
Christ turned now to Mary, for she stood quite near,
He said, “Behold your son, Woman.” Mary looked at John there.
John received his new mother and of her took great care.
Christ’s lips were now parched, and His tongue was quite dry, And he cried out, “I thirst,” though He knew they’d deny The pleasure of quenching it before He should die.
The darkness that surrounded the earth on that sad day Has since caused many to wonder and many to cry in dismay. All Nature was revolting in Nature’s only way.
Suddenly another cry from the Christ upon the tree, “My God, my God,” He cried aloud, “Why has Thou forsaken me?” Yet all of this was the Master’s plan; this was Redemption’s fee. Now that his sufferings were ending, “It’s finished,” the Lord Christ sighed. His pain and anguish over, “ I commend my spirit,” he cried: “Into Your Hands, O Father.”
Then bowing His head, He died
Suddenly to my surprise
I see things now
With Easter eyes;
And suddenly nothing’s the same
I see things now as ne’re before
And love exudes
From every pore.
I want to shout, I want to sing.
Glory to God!
My Risen King.
© Edmund Rice Christian Brothers Art Foundation, LTD