Cora Evans’ Sunday Gospel Reflection for November 3
The following is an excerpt from Cora Evans’ work, The Refugee from Heaven, selected as a reflection for the Sunday Gospel reading Luke 19:1-10.
Watching the terrible agony and listening to the steady thud of the crosses in the loose earth caused Peter to prostrate himself upon the ground, where he wept like a whipped child – he was helpless to protect the One he loved.
Steadying himself, he clasped at the tent flap and prayed aloud in a whisper, “Jesus, Jesus, let me suffer in some little way with You on the cross that You may suffer less. Lord, only You know the depths of my sorrow when I realized, after grace had fled, that I had so terribly denied You. My suffering is great, but, Lord, how much more is Yours, since You are God, and can see into the hearts of men to be born and hear not one voice deny You, but perhaps a million say, as I did, that they do not know You? Jesus, let me suffer in reparation for them. Take me, Lord, mystically into You that I may ease Your pain!”
As his prayer ended in a sob of anguish, Peter was caught up into ecstasy. Through that gift of God – a soul suffering the pangs of spiritual union – spirit with Spirit – before death, he saw from the Master's position on the cross the generations to be born into the world from that hour until the end of time. Each generation rose and fell like ocean breakers before the feet of Jesus, and in those spiritual mists he visioned the forms of men, women, and children talking to the Messiah. They, too, begged for the privilege to relieve Him of suffering. Would He allow them to suffer in their members?
The Master answered that He would allow them to be sharers in the plan of redemption. Through grace He taught them, regardless of their state in life and its circumstances of pain and strife, that they could, at will, unite their sorrows and joys with the pattern of His life and thus become incorporated with His will that He suffer for man. With an act of will they would thus become engrafted in Him and make any circumstance in life His will, in union with Him.
Other men, women, and children, in each mist of time, turned away their head when He tried to address them. They represented the minority of people who could not bear to see suffering or want to understand its meaning, as Jesus called them by name from the cross. As His plea went unheard and they continued to turn away, Peter begged them mystically to stop and at least look at the bleeding feet of the Messiah. The tide turned, all through the effect of grace Peter had earned for them, and they listened and dared to lift their eyes to the feet of the Master.
Aghast at what they saw, they pleaded, “Lord, allow us to suffer with You. Share with us Thy pain while we live on earth. Allow us to suffer in the members of Thy feet. Give us bruises, scars, and even amputations – all this, if You will suffer less. Anything, Lord, according to the circumstances under which we are born, we will offer in union with Thy suffering feet.”
Jesus smiled, and Peter felt within his own soul, hidden in the heart of God on the cross, the relief of pain in the Master's feet. Jesus whispered to him, “My friends shall be graced to suffer with, and for, Me. The suffering charismata will appear to them in many forms, such as afflictions of shedding blood, amputations, swellings, and many others too numerous to mention now. Certain effects of pain, even in this hour, have ceased in My feet. I am suffering less, but in and through them, I will suffer all things. Their bodies will be My other borrowed body. Together we will suffer all things even to the last hour of time. Well they understand My words: ‘You are your brother's keeper.’”