“Trodding the winepress alone”
The contrast between the two lessons from Isaiah could hardly be more striking. In the first we see the Messiah portrayed as the valiant warrior who will trod his enemies under his feet and win a glorious victory. In the second, we see him humiliated beyond recognition, struck by God and downcast.
As is often the case, the contrasts present in the liturgy teach us a profound lesson. Yes, Our Blessed Lord is the great warrior who sprinkles the blood of His enemies all over Himself as He wages battle and wins the victory, but His warfare is not one of destruction. Rather, is it a new kind of warfare. It is of such a kind that the victor lets the loser win, apparently. It is precisely because He has laboured, and given His life for the very ones who were torturing Him, that He receives it back again inamissibly.
This example is truly the heart of the Christian spirit. Resist not evil, said our Lord, turn the other cheek, let people curse you and do not render evil for good. By acting this way, you are winning a tremendous victory, even if in this life you do not obtain justice.
Sometimes you do. The example given to us by Cardinal Pell shows how God blesses the humble acceptance of being unjustly condemned, all the while forgiving those who have been the cause of our suffering. But this is not always the case. Often, the Lord gives a soul the grace to be treated as he was until the end. In the eyes of the world, it was defeat, but in the eyes of God, it is a valiant victory.
Let’s remember that when we have to trod the winepress alone, we are in the company of an immense crowd of witnesses who have gone before us, and who are cheering us on as we fight the good fight, keeping the faith to the end.