Wednesday, April 12, 2017

The Final Discourse

[In this section of Final Discourse at the Last Supper], Christ warns his disciples openly, “Behold, the hour is coming and has arrived when each of you will be scattered to his own home and you will leave me alone.” He is referring to the immediate hours of discouragement, flight, and despair to come. After Christ goes from the disciples the bond of unity which kept them together will seem to have snapped, for they will scatter. Christ contrasts the life they have led together with the individual panic which will seize them. . . .

It is not hard to detect the tones of sadness in which Christ must have spoken the words, “You shall leave me alone,” But his very saying them teaches several lessons to people of all times – not to be angered at the desertion of friends, not to expect too much from human weakness, not to take too seriously the momentary defections of those we love and who love us, not to lay too great a weight on what one does when he is the victim of fright and timidity, and above all, not to rest one’s cause on human strength alone. . . .

In the face of the imminent desertion of the disciples – within a short hour Christ knew their disloyalties would begin with the sleeping of the three in the Garden – the Master is still gracious, gentle, and consolatory, for he would teach them and us the need of union in conflict, the need for direct appeal to the font and source of all hope and confidence, and the need of developing in our trials a consciousness of the nearness of God. No one is alone when the Omnipotent God is with him: “You shall leave me alone, and yet I am not alone because the Father is with me.”

Source: William J. McGarry, S.J. Unto the End, pp. 264-265.