The wondrous Fr. Charles at St. Pat's. He said today that Jesus told his disciples three times that he would be crucified, and the first reaction was Peter’s denial, the "heaven forbid this should happen" to which Jesus said, “get thee behind me Satan.” The second time the gospel says that the disciples were “distressed” by the news. And the third time, in today’s gospel, the mother of James and John, presumably on their bidding, offered to take up the cup of suffering so that they could be at Christ’s right and left.
And Fr. C said that so it must be with us. Our reaction to the cross - the fact that there is no glory without the pain - is first disbelief and denial. Then, accepting the reality, we fear and tremble. And finally we have the overconfidence and too much trust in our own abilities that James and John had. Fr. C said that at least in that third state we want to be on Christ’s side, we love him, and that’s no small thing.
The Ronald Knox version of Isaiah reads like poetry and is deeply affecting:
He will watch this servant of his appear among us, unregarded as brushwood shoot, as a plant in waterless soil; no stateliness here, no majesty, no beauty, as we gaze upon him, to win our hearts.
A victim? Yet he himself bows to the stroke; no word comes from him. Sheep led away to the slaughter-house, lamb that stands dumb while it is shorn; no word from him. Imprisoned, brought to judgement, and carried off, he, whose birth is beyond our knowing; numbered among the living no more! Takes he leave of the rich, the godless, to win but a grave, to win but the gift of death; he, that wrong did never, nor had treason on his lips!