The Final Week of Jesus’ Life, a Chronology

Helpful, from The New Theological Movement:

As the Church prepares to enter into Holy Week, we do well to consider the final week of Jesus’ life, from Friday to Friday. In a later post, we will look at the last twenty-four hours (from the Last Supper to the death of Jesus on the Cross) in greater detail.

It will be helpful to review the Gospel accounts given by Sts. Mark and John, the two who offer the most explicit chronology of Holy Week. See Mark 11:1 – 15:37 and also John 11:54 – 19:30.

The Friday before the Passion

Jesus was in the city of Ephraim, in hiding since the Jewish authorities desired to kill him. On this day (before evening), Jesus and his disciples went up to Jerusalem, before the pasch to purify themselves (John 11:55).

They spent the night in Bethany, which is very close to Jerusalem.

Saturday before the Passion

Jesus therefore, six days before the pasch, came to Bethania, where Lazarus had been dead, whom Jesus raised to life. And they made him a supper there: and Martha served: but Lazarus was one of them that were at table with him. Mary therefore took a pound of ointment of right spikenard, of great price, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment. (John 12:1-3)

The pasch (i.e. Passover) was on a Thursday that year (beginning Thursday eve with the Passover Meal), and so six days before, that is, on Friday, Jesus came to Bethany.

The next day, which is to say, Saturday, Jesus came to the feast there and was anointed by Mary of Bethany (that is, Mary Magdalene [here]). In this first anointing, Mary pours the oil over the Savior’s feet.

This meal and anointing occurred, most probably, at the house of Lazarus known as the Lazarium.

Our Savior spent the night in Bethany.

Palm Sunday

And on the next day, Sunday (John 12:12), Jesus rode triumphantly into Jerusalem upon an ass and upon a colt, the foul of an ass. This was the first Palm Sunday, when the children of the Hebrews bearing olive branches went forth to meet the Lord, crying out and saying, “Hosanna in the highest!”

Our Lord returned to Bethany for the night.

Monday of Holy Week

On the way into Jerusalem, Jesus sees a fig tree which has born no fruit – which tree he curses in the presence of his disciples.

Upon entering the city, our Lord goes up and cleanses the Temple for the second time (he had cleansed it once already, two years ago – cf. John 2:13ff [see our article, here]).

That eve, Jesus returned to Bethany (cf. Mark 11:19).

Tuesday of Holy Week

On the way to Jerusalem, Jesus’ disciples notice that the fig tree which he had cursed the morning before has now withered. They are amazed.

Entering the Temple area, Jesus preaches extensively and answers the questions of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

It is on this day that our Lord tells the parable of the vineyard workers who kill the owner’s son who is the heir to the vineyard. Also, on this occasion, the Lord answers the questions regarding the tribute to Caesar, the resurrection of the body, the greatest commandment, and whether the Christ will be the son of David.

Further, while in the Temple, our Lord sees a widow offer two small coins and declares her gift to be greater than those of the others.

Finally, Jesus foretells the destruction of the Temple and speaks of the final judgment.

He returns that night to Bethany.

Spy Wednesday

Spending the day in retirement, our Lord attends a feast at the house of a certain Pharisee, Simon the Leper. During this meal, Mary of Bethany (i.e. Magdalene [here]) again anoints our Lord, but this time upon his head (cf. Matthew 26:7; Mark 14:3).

As before, Judas complains; but now he is set against our Savior, and so goes to the priests to betray Jesus. And Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve, went to the chief priests, to betray him to them. (Mark 14:10)

Because it was this evening that Judas conspired against Jesus, the day is called “Spy Wednesday”.

Holy Thursday

Now on the first day of the unleavened bread, when they sacrificed the pasch, the disciples say to him: Whither wilt thou that we go, and prepare for thee to eat the pasch? (Mark 14:12)

Because the Passover meal would be consumed Thursday evening, Jesus sent his disciples to make the preparations for the pasch. They went from Bethany to Jerusalem and prepared the upper room.

On this evening, Jesus offered the Last Supper in which he instituted both the Eucharist and the Priesthood. Upon finishing the meal, our Lord and his apostles (excepting Judas, who left early) sang a hymn and then went forth to the Mount of Olives.

On this night, our Lord suffered the agony in the garden and was arrested. Jesus spends the night locked in the dungeon of the house of Caiaphas, after undergoing a secret night-trial by the Sanhedrin.

Good Friday

It was on Friday that our Lord suffered and died. Condemned to death at 10am, nailed to the Cross at noon, and dying at 3pm.

Christ was buried before 5pm and, the stone being rolled across the entrance, all departed.



Some Anglican Difficulties

Writes Fr Dwight Longenecker (who I seem to be linking a lot to of late):

When I lived in England Anglicans almost universally referred to the Catholic Church as “the Roman Catholic Church.” They would emphasize the word “Roman”. The subtext was, “We Anglicans are Catholics too you know. It’s just that we’re not ‘Roman’ Catholics.”

Very often this was accompanied by a branch of the Dan Brown school of church history in which Christianity came to Britain directly by Joseph of Arimathea. They would explain that he founded the Celtic Church which was independent of “Roman hierarchical authority.” This Celtic Church was in tune with nature, valued women’s ministry, was democratic and well, pretty much the way Anglicanism is today…” Then at the  Synod of Whitby the Roman Catholic Church began to assert it’s harsh, foreign and hierarchical authority. At the Reformation the true, unsullied, English Catholicism was restored. Unfortunately there is virtually no evidence for this theory, but they cling to it still in one form or another. To read more about this idea here’s an article I wrote on it some time ago.

They like to say, “Romanism is just one form of Catholicism.” In addition to this the word “Romanism” or the “Roman” prefix is very often linked with an incurable English snobbery and racism. So the Anglicans would say in a delightfully snide way, “The Roman Catholic Church! The Church for Italian waiters and Irish ditch diggers!” It’s nice in an old fashioned Miss Marple English sort of way I guess. All Oscar Wilde quips, tea and lace and fine china for the old ladies (of both genders and all ages).

I don’t really mind this sort of thing. It adds to the quaint charm of the Church of England.

However, a couple of things should be observed. First, by its very definition there can be only one Catholic Church. Saying, “We’re Catholic just not Roman Catholic.” is a contradiction in terms. It’s like a fellow on a dude ranch in Sweden saying, “I’m a Texan, just not an American Texan.” Saying “Romanism is just one form of Catholicism” is like a person  who runs an English tea room in Los Angeles saying, “Of course being an English subject is just one expression of Englishness.” That’s nonsense. Anglicans shouldn’t deceive themselves. They may do things in a Catholic way, and that’s very nice indeed, but dressing up like a Catholic doesn’t make you a Catholic. Believing Catholic doctrine and using a Catholic liturgy is very nice too and a darn sight better than not doing so, but that also does not make you a Catholic.

Being a Catholic is defined by being in full communion with the Bishop of Rome, and if you don’t mind we’ll define what being a member of our church consists of just as you,  quite rightly, would define yours. We don’t mind at all if you imitate us, and we’re flattered that you want to be Catholic in many ways and we encourage you in this enterprise, and seek fellowship with you as our brothers and sisters in Christ. We acknowledge your many gifts and the service you bring to Christ and his church and we value our relationship and seek for fraternal charity to be nurtured, but within this same spirit of charity we also wish to correct your mis apprehension that you are Catholics.

You are not. Your church was founded in a violent and rapacious revolution that deliberately broke communion with the successor of Peter, and that wound to the unity of Christ’s body has been made worse through the conscious and intentional decisions your church has made over the last forty years.

I realize what I have written may anger and offend some Anglicans, but healthy relationships are based on honesty and clarity. I, for one, find that one of the greatest obstacles to unity is the number of Anglicans who still–despite the events of the last decades–maintain that they are Catholic. With all sorts of subtlety, smoke and mirrors they maintain this fiction.

If only they could see, from a Catholic perspective, how sad and silly they appear. Once I became a Catholic I looked back on the arguments I made and the positions I took and I was ashamed of how much I had believed the lies of others and worst of all, lied to myself.



Census Shows Ireland is Still Overwhelmingly Catholic

Despite being rocked by the sex abuse scandal, a huge percentage in the country still self-identify as Catholic.  Details, from the Irish Times:

Ireland remains the overwhelmingly Catholic country of the English-speaking world, according to results of the April 2011 census, published yesterday. Over 84 per cent of people in the Republic, or 3.86 million, described themselves as Roman Catholic in that census.

It may represent a drop from the 86.8 per cent of the population who did so in the 2006 census but, in actual terms, the 2011 figure is an increase of 179,889, or 4.9 per cent, on the 2006 figure.

This anomaly, of an increase in numbers and percentage but a drop overall, is because the general population of the Republic increased by 348,404, to 4.58 million, since 2006.

The nearest in numbers to Catholics are those who declared themselves as having “no religion” last April. They now number 269,800, an increase of 44.8 per cent on the 2006 figure. A further 72,914 did not state their religion, compared to the 70,322 “not stated” figure for 2006.

Among those who did declare themselves last year the next largest grouping to those with “no religion” are members of the Church of Ireland who now number 129,039, an increase of 6.4 per cent on their 121,229 figure in 2006. Presbyterian numbers are up by 4.5 per cent to 24,600 as are Jehovah’s Witnesses, by 19.4 per cent to 6,149.

Far and away the most significant non-Christian religion in Ireland today is Islam. Members of Ireland’s Muslim community now number 49,204, an increase of 51.2 per cent on the 32,539 figure in 2006.

Continue reading.

SourceThe Deacon’s Bench



On Joining the Ordinariate

Writes Fr Ed Tomlinson – mostly for those Clergy where there are Ordinariates available:

My last post provoked a question in the comment thread asking if there would be more Anglican clergy joining the Ordinariate in the future? The questioner assuming that, if one was truly Catholic in belief and unhappy with the direction of the Church of England, they would surely have already joined.

But I think the migration is far from over because life is not as black and white as internet debate. People’s beliefs change and future applicants might include those whose heads are presently in the sand (regarding the implications of current synodical thinking and the Ordinariate reality) but who might yet wake up and move. People whose personal threshold has not been crossed but which may be crossed with future innovation. Those whose journey is still in formation but heading in a Catholic direction, who are yet to arrive at a ‘Newman moment’. And those who have had that epiphany but not yet found a way to put desire into action.

I am myself aware of priests with interest in joining but who do not yet feel able to do so. They tell me life is grim in the Anglo-Catholic world at present. The Catholic societies have fallen silent and leaders who once spoke with passion and clarity about desire for unity now offer no clear vision. Furthermore the Society of Wilfred and Hilda (set up to care for those who did not join the Ordinariate) has offered little beyond an ecclesiastical sandwich club for disgruntled and marginalised people. There is no plan on the table that those I speak to ascertain.

It is clear to them that, whilst high church congregationalism can and will survive, a cohesive case for Catholic life within the Church of England is over. People can put up with hospice care for a dying 19th Century vision, a vision rendered dormant by synodical vote, or else look to the Ordinariate for a robust and Catholic future in the 21st Century.

The question becomes this. How do we encourage those who want to be Catholic but who fear the journey? Remember we have no desire to poach happy Anglicans being only concerned for those who do not seem to belong there. How do we help those feeling trapped who only stay due to obstacles, real or imagined, which they see as barriers to change? It helps to briefly name the obstacles. The following comes from those I know:

1) Family pressure in a variety of forms. There are some married whose wives do not want to leave a comfortable vicarage, a job for life or the certainty of a pension. Others have children at crucial stages in education and are waiting. Others are worried about the reaction of wider family and friends who hold vehemently anti-Roman views.

2) Financial worry. Some fear a move into the Ordinariate means losing a pension or else they worry they cannot support themselves. This is especially true of those who know that they cannot bring a large group. It is not unusual for Anglo-Catholic priests to be serve parishes where the people are less Catholic in outlook than themselves. I would reassure them that nobody who has joined the Catholic church thus far has been left in difficulty but maybe this is not enough and we need to secure buildings and growth to convince them?

3. Fear of change. Some know they would be happier with us but cannot face the prospect of transition. And let us be frank here- it is a tough process with every single person who has left facing a barrage of hostility, often from those they considered friends. I myself received vile letters and emails and was even locked out of my own church before I had left! Conflict isn’t pleasant and the Ordinariate has ruffled feathers. It leads to challenge for those who join. So how can we smooth the journey? Because it does settle down in time.

4) Building junkies. There are those wed to buildings and/or empires. It isn’t easy walking from a project you have given so much to. The wrench of having to leave is causing many to delay, not least those approaching retirement.

5) Compromised reality. There are those with complications in their personal lives. They want to join but are not currently in a position to do so. Clearly decisions need to be made. We might also consider pessimists who fear applications would be turned down or those with scandals in the past. There are no guarantees when you leave but I suggest the Catholic church is compassionate.

We unveil myriad reasons why people might dawdle when it comes to joining the Ordinariate – even though they support the vision! They need love and assistance and we have to help as best as possible. And perhaps it is also time to gently challenge them….

Because it disturbs me when people say they will join the Ordinariate- when they retire!

Read the whole post here.

In conclusion, critically, he asks:

… And we can add to this number countless clergy and laity who, in 2007, signed a petition sent to the holy see seeking provision and help. Where are they now? Some bluffs must have been called but how can we encourage those who do want to join the Ordinariate but cannot bring themselves to do so? It is a serious question not least because our Lord warns about the danger of hanging back once we know we should move forward. (He famously lambasts those called to follow but who prefer to bury dead or who look back when ploughing fields). Quite simply dilly-dallying is not a Gospel option. Is it then time for some action?

If you know in your heart that you belong in the Catholic church then realise that we are praying for you and here to help. The leap is demanding and there are many challenges once you arrive on Rome’s shore. But we need and we want you. We keep the seats warm- why not get in touch and let us help you?