In the Transfiguration on Mount Thabor, our Blessed Lord’s body was bathed in light and His divinity burst through the frail human bonds that were united to it. In the Garden of Gethsemani, the human body of the Son of God was bathed in a bloody sweat that rushed from every pore. Once the angel had strengthened our Lord, the transformation was amazing. From that moment on to the end of the Passion, we shall never see Him falter, for even one moment. He had strength for Himself and strength for all those who came to Him or crossed His path.
The moment the third prayer was ended, Holy Scripture notes that Christ went to His disciples and said: “Sleep on now, and take your rest! It is enough; the hour has come.” (Mk. 14:41) The time for watching was past. Christ had passed through His agony, and on His adorable face was the radiance of peace and the fire of zeal. No longer did He need the help or the sympathy which in vain He had sought in the darkness. He looked toward the city gate, and there was the traitor coming. There was neither need nor use now for the disciples’ waking and watching, and they might as well sleep on. The lesson is plain. Whatever we do for our friends, we must do when they are in need of our help. If one is sick, the time to show sympathy is while the sickness continues. If we allow him to pass through his illness without showing him any attention, there is little use, when he is well again, for us to offer kindness.
When one of our friends is passing through some sore struggle with temptation, then is the time for us to come close to him and put the strength of our love under his weakness. Of what use is our help when the battle has been fought through to the end and won without us? Or suppose the friend was not victorious; that he failed – failed because no one came to help him, is there any use in our hurrying up to him then to offer assistance?
It was Ruskin who once wrote these words: “Such help as we can give to each other in this world is a debt we owe to each other; and the man who perceives a superiority or a capacity in a subordinate, and neither confesses nor assists it, is not merely the withholder of kindness, but the committer of evil.”
If we are inclined to criticize the weakness of the Apostles in sleeping rather than comforting their Lord and their God in His hour of agony, do we not do a similar deed when we withhold help and consolation from our neighbor. “As long as you did not do it for one of these least ones, you did not do it for me.” (Mt. 25:44)
Let us always see Christ in our neighbor and this very day make a real effort to be a support, comfort, and defense of someone who needs our help – spiritual or temporal. Never let the sun set any day without having done one charitable act for a neighbor. Remember always these words of Holy Scripture: “that one’s neighbor should be loved as oneself is a greater thing than all holocausts and sacrifices.” (Mk 12:33)