December, A.U.C. 781-February, 782. (Cf. Luke 13-17; John 10:11)
The Feast of Dedication brought Jesus again to Jerusalem, and occasioned another discussion with the Jews. This is followed by another missionary tour through Peraea, during which Jesus explained a number of important points of doctrine: the number of the elect, the choice of one’s place at table, the guests to be invited, the parable of the great supper, resoluteness in the service of God, the parables of the hundred sheep, the lost groat, and the prodigal son, of the unjust steward, of Dives and Lazarus, of the unmerciful servant, besides the duty of fraternal correction, and the efficacy of faith. During this period, too, the Pharisees attempted to frighten Jesus with the menance of Herod’s persecution; on his part, Jesus healed a man who had dropsy, on a Sabbath day, while at table in the house of a certain prince of the Pharisees. Finally Mary and Martha send messengers to Jesus, asking Him to come and cure their brother Lazarus; Jesus went after two days, and resuscitated His friend who had been several days in the grave. The Jews are exasperated over this miracle, and they decree Jesus must die for the people. Hence He withdrew “into a country near the desert, unto a city that is called Ephrem”.
February, A.U.C. 782- Passover, 782. (Cf. Luke 17-22; Mark 10, 14; Matthew 19-26; John 11, 12.)
This last journey took Jesus from Ephrem northward through Samaria, then eastward along the border of Galilee into Peraea, then southward through Peraea, westward across the Jordan, through Jericho, Bethania on Mt. Olivet, Bethphage, and finally to Jerusalem. While in the most northern part of the journey, He cured ten lepers; a little later, He answered the questions raised by the Pharisees concerning the kingdom of God. Then He urged the need of incessant prayer by proposing the parable of the unjust judge; here too belong the parable of the Pharisee and Publican, the discourse on marriage, on the attitude of the Church towards the children, on the right use of riches as illustrated by the story of the rich young ruler, and the parable of the labourers in the vineyard. After beginning His route towards Jerusalem, He predicted His Passion for the third time; James and John betray their ambition, but they are taught the true standard of greatness in the Church. At Jericho Jesus heals two blind men, and receives the repentance of Zacheus the publican; here He proposed also the parable of the pounds entrusted to the servants by the master.
Six days before the pasch we find Jesus at Bethania on Mt. Olivet, as the guest of Simon the leper; Mary anoints His feet, and the disciples at the instigation of Judas are indignant at this seeming waste of ointment. A great multitude assembles at Bethania, not to see Jesus only but also Lazarus; hence the chief priests think of killing Lazarus too. On the following day Jesus solemnly entered Jerusalem and was received by the Hosanna cries of all classes of people. In the afternoon He met a delegation of Gentiles in the court of the Temple. On Monday Jesus curses the barren fig tree, and during the morning He drives the buyers and sellers from the Temple. On Tuesday the wonder of the disciples at the sudden withering of the fig tree provokes their Master’s instruction on the efficacy of faith. Jesus answers the enemies’ questions as to His authority; then He proposes the parable of the two sons, of the wicked husbandmen, and of the marriage feast. Next follows a triple snare: the politicians ask whether it is lawful to pay tribute to Caesar; the scoffers inquire whose wife a woman, who has had several husbands, will be after resurrection; the Jewish theologians propose the question: Which is the first commandment, the great commandment of the law? Then Jesus proposes His last question to the Jews: “What think you of Christ? whose son is he?” This is followed by the eightfold woe against the Scribes and Pharisees, and by the denunciation of Jerusalem. The last words of Christ in the Temple were expressions of praise for the poor widow who had made an offering of two mites in spite of her poverty. Jesus ended this day by uttering the prophecies concerning the destruction of Jerusalem, His second coming, and the future judgement; these predictions are interrupted by the parable of the ten virgins and the talents. On Wednesday Jesus again predicted His Passion; probably it was on the same day that Judas made his agreement with the Jews to betray Jesus.
The Passion of Jesus: its preparation