While all were amazed at everything Jesus did, he said to his disciples, “Listen and remember what I tell you now: The Son of Man will be delivered into human hands.” But the disciples didn’t understand this saying; something prevented them from grasping what he meant, and they were afraid to ask him about it.
Someone said that there are two things we cannot stare at: the sun and death. In today’s gospel episode, we seem to have something in that line. Jesus announces openly his impending death. But his disciples understand nothing of what he is talking about and, more significantly, “were afraid,” in the words of the text, “to ask him about it.” One has the impression, upon reading this account of the incident, that the disciples did not want to hear anything more on the topic of death. Looking at death was too painful for them.
In this connection it is interesting (almost amusing) how people studiously avoid the direct mention of death and have recourse to a panoply of euphemisms: “he passed away,” “my late husband,” “our deceased daughter,” “our departed ones,” “he left us three years ago,” etc. When suffering comes to us, either for our loved ones or for ourselves, shall we look the other way, as the disciples were doing, or shall we have the courage to look suffering straight in the eye? The contemplation of the crucifix and of our crucified Lord should help us find that courage.
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