THE FIRST MEDITATION
Of the Conspiracy which the Jews made against Christ
The festival day of the Azymes You know that after two days shall be the pasch, and the son of man shall be delivered up to be crucified. Then were gathered together the chief priests and ancients of the people into the court of the high priest, who was called Caiphas: And they consulted together, that by subtilty they might apprehend Jesus, and put him to death. But they said: Not on the festival day, lest perhaps there should be a tumult among the people.
The Brethren of Joseph seeing him afar off, before he came nigh them, they thought to kill him. And said one to another: Behold the dreamer cometh. Come, let us kill him Gen. 37
And sold him to the Ismaelites, for twenty pieces of silver Gen. 37
A conspiracy is found among the men of Juda, and among the inhabitants of Jerusalem Let us put wood on his bread, and cut him off from the land of the living, and let his name be remembered no more Jer. 11
Because they have digged a pit to take me, and have hid snares for my feet.But thou, O Lord, knowest all their counsel against me unto death Jer. 18
While they assembled together against me, they consulted to take away my life. Ps.30
For my enemies have spoken against me; and they that watched my soul have consulted together, Saying: God hath forsaken him: pursue and take him, for there is none to deliver him. Ps.70
And they weighed for my wages thirty pieces of silver. Zac.11
Because he hath sold the just man for silver, and the poor man for a pair of shoes. Amos 2
1. The greater the gifts and benefits were, which our Lord bestowed on his people, the more increased their malice and ingratitude towards him, for which cause he justly complained by the Prophet saying, Filios enutriui, & exaltaui, ipsi vero spreuerunt me. I brought up children and exalted them, but they have despised me. How often times did our sweet Savior Jesus shed tears,and watch whole nights in prayer unto his Father for their salvation, and spend the day time in preaching unto them and instructing them in casting out Devils, and in healing of their diseased persons, whereas contra wise they persevere whole nights and days, devising & consulting together how they may apprehend him, and kill him most cruelly. Blind and miserable Jews, they counsel and search after Christ, not to have him, but to kill him: and little remember how that by killing of Christ, their true life: they incur eternal death. Blessed are they, who with better advise seek after Christ, but for to have Christ, hath life, hath salvation, and all goodness.
2. Consider how much greater is the ingratitude of Judas then that of the Jews: for as much as being chosen of Christ to sit as Judge of the world amongst the highest seats of Heaven, he suffereth himself to be blinded so much with avarice, that for a vile and base reward he doth not only renounce his high dignity, but moreover and besides selleth Christ himself. Woe be unto that soul which once obstinately giveth place unto one vice, because there is no wickedness so grievous which when occasion serveth he is not easily induced to commit: And let them chiefly beware who are in a more worthy estate and more near unto God: for if such once fall from their vocation:they become the very worst of all other men.
3. Behold how basely Judas esteemed of Christ, which permitted the Jews his most capital enemies to make their own price of him,saying what will you give me and I will deliver him into your hands? It was never heard of before, that the Seller suffered the Buyer to set price of his wares, unless it were of some vile and contemptible thing. O most wicked broker which valuest him for money, whose price exceeded all value: and him in comparison of whose worth all things else are to be esteemed as nothing, thou ratest at so low a price. Most miserable fellow seest thou not, that infinite worlds might be redeemed with the least drop of his blood,& thou sellest him whole & entire for thirty sicles? Wicked Judas, CHRIST thy Redeemer prized not thy soul, at so vile a price as thou soldest his, seeing that he brought and ransomed thee with the price of his own blood, and thou sellest him for the value of thirty pieces of silver.
4. O holy Mother find thyself present at this sale of thy Son, and cause them to buy him of thee, seeing that he is thine and not this thieves, who selleth that which is none of his own: and then shall we see how thou wilt increase the price, & at how higher a rate thou wilt value him, than these men do: but if happily thou consent, for the fulfilling of the will of his Father, that this traitor should sell him,yet nevertheless do thou make means to buy him, for being his mother of reason it belongeth chiefly unto thee for to buy him. O Judas most unhappy, if the insatiable desire of money overcome thee yet sell him not unto his enemies, but much rather unto his friends, who assuredly will give much more for him. See how much LAZARUS would give thee rather then thou shouldest sell his Savior: how much Magdalen: how much Martha: and how much his comfortless Mother, whose loss is the greatest of all others, which when she could do no more, at leastwise with the weight of infinite tears, she would purchase him. See finally and demand of the Angels what they would give for Jesus and with out doubt for their Lord they would freely give thee Paradise.
5. Consider the meekness of they Savior, who albeit he knew himself so traitorously sold of Judas,nevertheless he excluded him not, but tolerated him in his company,neither doth he shut up from him, but rather set wide open the gate of his mercy, inviting him to repentance: for which cause he talketh with him as before, he eateth with him, doth him many favors even to the washing of his very feet. O what heart is so hard, what mind is so obstinate, which so great signs of excessive love would not mollify and cleave in sunder. And if Jesus be so loving towards them who sold him so vilely what will he do to them, which love him and serve him faithfully? O most merciful Jesus, how much am I bound unto thee, seeing that thou sufferest him to be damned forever which sold thee but once, and me thy traitorous servant which every hour do sell thee, thou still yet expected and givest grace and time, for to save my soul.
Thou shalt pray unto Christ our Savior that for this meekness of his, whereby he suffered himself of this wicked council to be judged worthy of death, and of one of his own Disciples to be sold for so vile a price unto his enemies, he will give thee grace seeing that he most manifestly hath declared to esteem more of thy salvation then of his own life, that thou mayest likewise for his love patiently endure all the judgments and counsels which men shall give against thee, and to be sold and despised of the world as unprofitable and infamous, and never permit thee for the love of any creature, to forsake and leave him, thy true and only good, but that thou mayest as thou of duty oughtest, above all things to esteem, serve,and love him forever
1. They which exceed others in age, or in knowledge,or in dignity ought vigilantly to endeavor to excel them likewise in sanctity and obedience, that thereby they may not only with counsel,but also with good example help and profit those which are under their charge and custody: and let them have especial regard that by no evil example of theirs, they give others cause of ruin, as the Priests and Elders of the Jews did, who impiously adjudging Christ worthy of death,were cause that the whole people following their authority, were perverted and opposed themselves against our Savior.
2. If Judas an Apostle of Christ who conversed with Christ, heard his doctrine,and saw his miracles, by the only occasion of bearing the purse was so much blinded with avarice, that thereby he was induced to sell his Master what will become of us unless we carefully avoid the occasion of sin.
3. Whosoever enforceth not himself even from the beginning to resist his evil inclinations, standeth in manifest danger of ruin and destruction,seeing that the devil more grievously tempteth us, and we are more easily overcome in those things which he knoweth us most inclined unto.
4. When as with our words, or evil example we induce others to sin, then do we sell Christ unto them, to be injured and Crucified by the sin which they commit.
5. Look how many desires we have of earthly things, of honor, of knowledge, of commodity,and of sensual pleasure, so many purses do we wear, and so many snares do we carry about us to our own perdition. Let us leave these purses and we shall not perish, seeing that none of the Apostles perished, but he that carried the purse.
6. How often we offend our Savior or despise his divine inspirations,for to satisfy our own will, or disordinate desires, so many times for a vile and base price do well sell Christ , yea very often for less then Judas sold him for unto the Jews
Fr. Vincenzo Bruno S.J.