Abbe Dom Prosper Gueranger
Missa "Judica, Dómine
This morning, also, Jesus goes with His disciples to Jerusalem. He is fasting, for the Gospel, tells us that He was hungry. ( Matthew 21:18 ) He approaches a fig-tree, which is by the way-side; but finds nothing on it, save leaves only. Jesus, wishing to give us an instruction, curses the fig-tree, which immediately withers away. He would hereby teach us what they are to expect, who have nothing but good desires, and never produce in themselves the fruit of a real conversion. Nor is the allusion to Jerusalem less evident. This city is zealous for the exterior of divine worship; but her heart is hard and obstinate, and she is plotting, at this very hour, the death of the Son of God.
The greater portion of the day is spent in the temple, where Jesus holds long conversations with the chief priests and ancients of the people. His language to them is stronger than ever, and triumphs over all their captious questions. It is principally in the Gospel of [Blessed Apostle Saint] Matthew 21:18 that we shall find these answers of our Redeemer, which so energetically accuse the Jews of their sin of rejecting the Messias, and so plainly foretell the punishment their sin is to bring after it.
At length Jesus leaves the temple and takes the road that leads to Bethania. Having come as far as Mount Olivet, which commands a view of Jerusalem, He sits down and rests awhile. The disciples take this opportunity of asking Him how soon the chastisements He has been speaking of in the temple will come upon the city. His answer comprises two events: the destruction of Jerusalem, and the final destruction of the world. He thus teaches them that the first is the figure of the second. The time when each is to happen, is to be when the measure of iniquity is filled up. But, with regard to the chastisement that is to befall Jerusalem, He gives this more definite answer: "Amen I say to you: this generation shall not pass till all these things be done." ( Matthew 24:34 ). He leaves Mount Olive, returns to Bethania, and consoles the anxious heart of His most holy Mother...(pages 243-244)
[Comments on the Epistle] ...The holy angels look on with amazement at the treatment shown by the Jews to Jesus, and falling down, they adore the holy Face, which they see thus bruised and defiled: let us, also, prostrate and ask pardon, for our sins have outraged that same Face.
But let us hearken to the last words of our Epistle: He that hath walked in darkness, and hath no light, let him hope in the name of the Lord and lean upon his God. Who is this but the Gentile, abandoned to sin and idolatry? He knows not what is happening at this very hour in Jerusalem; he knows not that the earth possesses its Savior, and that this Savior is being trampled beneath the feet of His own chosen people; but, in a very short time, the light of the Gospel will shine upon this poor Gentile; he will believe; he will obey; he will love his Redeemer, even to laying down his life for Him. Then will be fulfilled the prophecy of the unworthy pontiff, who prophesied against his will that the death of Jesus would bring salvation to the Gentiles, by gathering into one family the children of God, that hitherto had been dispersed. ( John 11:52 ).
...Judas Iscariot, dares to protest against this waste (of the perfume [Blessed Apostle Saint] Magdalene anoints Jesus with), as he calls it. His base avarice deprives him of feeling and respect for his divine Master. His opinion is shared in by several of the other disciples, for they are still carnal-minded. For several reasons Jesus permits [Blessed Apostle Saint] Magdalene's generosity to thus blamed. And firstly, He wishes to announce His approaching death, which is mystically expressed by the pouring of this ointment upon His body. Then, too, He would glorify Magdalene; and He therefore tells those who are present, that her tender and ardent love shall be rewarded, and that her name shall be celebrated in every country, wheresoever the Gospel shall be preached. ( [Blessed Apostle Saint] Matthew 26:13 ). And lastly, He would console those whose generous love prompts them to be liberal in their gifts to His altars; for what He here says of Magdalene is, in reality, a defense for them, when they are accused of spending too much over the beauty of God's house.
Let us prize each of these divine teachings. Let us love to honor Jesus, both in His own person, and in His poor. Let us honor Magdalene, and imitate her devotion to the Passion and death of our Lord. In fine, let us prepare our perfumes for our divine Master: there must be the myrrh of the Magi, which signifies penance, and the precious spikenard of [Blessed Apostle Saint] Magdalene, which is the emblem of generous and compassionating love.
Holy Pascha Week
The fig tree is a symbol of the Jewish nation, which had the outward appearance of fruits, because they had followed the letter of the law. But they lacked fruit in that they did not abide by the Spirit of the law and "neglected the weightier things of the law."
Today, again, our Savior sets out in the morning for Jerusalem. His intention is to repair to the temple, and continue His yesterday's teachings. It is evident that His mission on earth is fast drawing to its close.
in Holy Week
The figurative lamb is now to make way for the true one; the Pasch of this year will substitute the reality for the type; and Jesus' Blood, shed by the hands of wicked priests, is soon to flow simultaneously with that of victims which have been hitherto acceptable to God only because they prefigured the Sacrifice of Calvary.
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