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What Was the Lord Doing on Monday of Holy Week?

According to Matthew 21:10-17, Mark 11:15-17, and Luke 19:45-46, Jesus returns to Jerusalem today. Seeing shameful practices in the Temple area, He cleanses it. The Gospels also recount His weeping over Jerusalem and His cursing of the fig tree. Matthew and Mark relate that He returned to Bethany that night.

Prelude: The Scriptures record that Jesus went to Bethany on the Sunday evening after His triumphal entrance into Jerusalem (Palm Sunday):

[Jesus] went into the temple courts. He looked around at everything, but since it was already late, He went out to Bethany with the Twelve (Mk 11:11).

It is likely that Jesus stayed at the house of Martha, Mary, and Lazarus. Bethany was a mere two miles from Jerusalem (though a steep climb), just over the Mount of Olives.

Pain: The next morning (Monday) Jesus arises and goes back toward Jerusalem. Luke records that as He came over the crest of the hill on the Mount of Olives He wept:

As Jesus approached Jerusalem and saw the city, He wept over it and said, “If only you had known on this day what would bring you peace! But now it is hidden from your eyes. For the days will come upon you when your enemies will barricade you and surround you and hem you in on every side. They will level you to the ground—you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation from God” (Lk 19:41-44).

Today on this spot there is a chapel named Dominus Flevit (the Lord wept), which is in the shape of a teardrop. From here Jesus could see the whole city spread out below. He could also see forty years into the future to the time when the Romans would destroy the city and Temple, the culmination of a horrible and pointless war (64-70 A.D.) for liberation from the Romans. Had Jesus’ message been heeded, the Romans would not have been regarded as enemies to kill but rather as brothers to convert to the gospel.

Passionate Anger: Mark recalls an event as they come down the hillside:

The next day, when they had left Bethany, Jesus was hungry. Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, He went to see if there was any fruit on it. But when He reached it, He found nothing on it except leaves, since it was not the season for figs. Then He said to the tree, “May no one ever eat of your fruit again.” And His disciples heard this statement (Mk 11:12-14).

Read more at Archdiocese of Washington

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