"When Jesus had thus spoken, he was troubled in spirit," and he confessed it, saying: 'One of you will betray me.'"
The trouble that Jesus here feels in his soul is the horror that affects him when considering sin, which is what causes the internal suffering that manifests itself as a shudder. If we may be allowed to peer into his intimate feelings, what caused him the greatest pain on this occasion was that he saw not simply the crime of Judas and of all those who would cooperate with his death. Rather, he saw the evil effect that his death would produce in sinners, by being for them an occasion to abandon themselves to sin through the hope that his merits would obtain pardon for them. This is what is most horrid in sin, when God's goodness and the grace of redemption are put in its service. If this is what is most horrid about sin, it is also, consequently, what brought the Savior his greatest horror, his deepest shudders, and his troubled spirit.
Jesus had to suffer death as the just punishment of all the sins whose weight he bore, in a certain sense as one guilty. Thus the horror of sin took hold of him. He saw himself surrounded by it and even penetrated by it. What a cruel spectacle for the Savior of mankind! He saw sin increase by the ill use to which his death would be put. It would make many say that he was not the Son of God and that all of his miracles had been so many illusions. It was scandal to the Jews, follow to the Greeks, and even at times to the faithful themselves. What an occasion of vengeance: for all those who would not profit from his death would become only more guilty, more worthy of punishment, and more subject to damnation. How touched by their misery was this good Savior, who so tenderly loves all men and who became man only to save us! O Jesus! This is what troubled your holy soul. This is what caused you to be moved. Let us then be horrified by sin, and let us see, in the troubles of Jesus, how greatly troubled our own conscience should be.
"Meditations for Lent"