Jesus’ Last Discourse In the Temple
Early the next morning Jesus went with the disciples to Jerusalem. Having crossed the Cedron in front of the Temple, He continued His course outside the city toward the south, till He came to a little gate, by which He entered, and, crossing a stone bridge that spanned a deep abyss, He reached the foot of Mount Sion. There were caverns also under the Temple. Here Jesus turned from the south side of the Temple and proceeded through a long vaulted corridor, which was lighted only from above, into the women’s portico. Here, turning toward the east, He passed through the doorway allotted to women condemned on account of their sterility, crossed the hall in which offerings were made, and proceeded to the teacher’s chair in the outer hall of the Temple. This door always stood open, although at Jesus’ instructions, all the other entrances to the Temple were often closed by the Pharisees. They said: “Let the sin-door always remain open to the sinner!”
In words admirable and deeply significant, Jesus taught upon union and separation. He made use of the similitude of fire and water, which are opposed to each other, one of which extinguishes the other, though if the latter does not get the better of the former, the flames become wilder and more powerful. He next spoke of persecution and martyrdom. Under the figure of fire, Jesus alluded to those disciples that would remain true to Him; and under that of water, to those that would separate from Him and seek the abyss. He called water the martyr of fire, He spoke also of the mingling of water and milk, naming it an intimate commingling that no one could separate. Jesus wished under this figure to designate His own union with His followers, and He dwelt upon the mild and nutritive properties of milk. From this He passed to the subject of marriage and its union, as the disciples had questioned Him upon the reunion after death of friends and married people. Jesus said that there was a twofold union in marriage: the union of flesh and blood, which death cuts asunder, and they that were so bound would not find themselves together after death; and the union of soul, which would outlive death. They should not, He continued, be disquieted as to whether they would be alone or together in the other world. They that had been united in union of soul in this life, would form but one body in the next. He spoke also of the Bridegroom and named the Church His affianced. Of the martyrdom of the body, He said that it was not to be feared, since that of the soul was the more frightful.
As the Apostles and disciples did not comprehend all that He said, Jesus directed them to write down what they failed to understand. Then I saw John, James the Less, and another making signs from time to time on a little tablet that they held before them resting on a support. They wrote upon little rolls of parchment with a colored liquid, which they carried with them in a kind of horn. They drew the little rolls out of their breast pockets, and wrote only in the beginning of the instruction.
Jesus spoke likewise of His own union with them, which would be accomplished at the Last Supper and which could by nothing be dissolved.
The obligation of perfect continence, Jesus exposed to the Apostles by way of interrogation. He asked, for instance, “Could you do such and such a thing at the same time?” and He spoke of a sacrifice that had to be offered, all which led to perfect continence as a conclusion. He adduced as examples Abraham and the other Patriarchs who, before offering sacrifice, always purified themselves and observed a long continence.
When He spoke of Baptism and the other Sacraments, He said that He would send to them the Holy Ghost who, by His Baptism, would make them all children of Redemption. They should after His death baptize at the Pool of Bethsaida all that would come and ask for it. If a great number presented themselves, they should lay their hands upon their shoulders, two and two, and baptize them there under the stream of the pump, or jet. As formerly the angel, so now would the Holy Ghost come upon the baptized as soon as His Blood should have been shed, and even before they themselves had received the Holy Spirit.
Peter, who had been appointed by Jesus chief over the others, asked as such whether they were always to act in this manner without first proving and instructing the people. Jesus answered that the people would be wearied out with waiting for feast days and pining meantime in aridity; therefore they, the Apostles, should not delay to do as He had just told them. When they should have received the Holy Ghost, then they would always know what they should do. He addressed some words to Peter on the subject of penance and absolution, and afterward spoke to them all about the end of the world and of the signs that would precede it. A man enlightened by God would have visions on that subject. By these words, Jesus referred to John’s revelations, and He Himself made use of several similar illustrations. He spoke, for instance, of those that would be marked with the sign on their forehead, and said that the fountain of living water which flowed from Calvary’s mount would at the end of the world appear to be almost entirely poisoned, though all the good waters would finally be gathered into the Valley of Josaphat. It seemed to me that He said also that all water was to become once more baptismal water. No Pharisees were present at any part of this instruction. That evening Jesus returned to Lazarus’, in Bethania.
The whole of the next day Jesus taught undisturbed in the Temple. He spoke of truth and the necessity of acting out what they, the Apostles, taught. He Himself, He said, was now about to fulfill it. It is not enough to believe, one must practice one’s faith. No one, not even the Pharisees themselves, could reproach Him with the least error in His teaching, and now by returning to His Father He would fulfill the truth He had taught. But before going He would give over to them, would leave to them, all that He possessed. Money and property He had not, but He would bequeath to them His strength and power. He would establish with them a union which should be still more intimate than that which now united them to Him, and which should last till the end of time. He would also bind them to one another as the members of one body. Jesus spoke of so many things that He would still do with them that Peter, conceiving new hope that He would remain longer on earth, said to Him that if He were to fulfill all those things, He would have to abide with them till the end of the world. Jesus then spoke of the essence and effects of the Last Supper, without, however, mentioning it by name. He said also that He was about to celebrate His last Pasch. Peter asked where He intended to do so. Jesus answered that He would tell him in good time, and after that last Pasch He would go to His Father. Peter again asked whether He would take with Him His Mother, whom they all loved and reverenced so much. Jesus answered that she should remain with them some years longer. He mentioned the number, and in it there was a five. I think He named fifteen years, and then said many things in connection with her.
In His instruction upon the power and effects of His Last Supper, Jesus made some allusion to Noe, who had once become intoxicated with wine; to the children of Israel, who had lost their taste for the manna sent them from Heaven; and to the bitterness they tasted in it. As for Himself, He was going to prepare the Bread of Life before His return home, but It was not yet ready, was not yet baked, not yet cooked.
He had, he continued, so long taught them the truth, so long communicated with them; and yet they had always doubted, indeed they doubted still! He felt that in His corporeal presence He could no longer be useful to them, therefore He would give them all that He had, He would retain only what was absolutely necessary to cover His naked body. These words of Jesus, the Apostles did not understand. They were under the impression that He would die, or perhaps vanish from their sight. As late as the preceding day, when He was speaking of the persecution of the Jews against Him, Peter said that He might again withdraw from these parts and they would accompany Him. He had gone away once before after the raising of Lazarus, He could now go again.
When toward evening Jesus left the Temple, He spoke of taking leave of it, saying that He would never again enter it in the body. This scene was so touching that all the Apostles and disciples cast themselves on the ground crying aloud and weeping. Jesus wept also. Judas shed no tear, though he was anxious and nervous, as he had been during the past days. Yesterday Jesus said no word in allusion to him.
In the court of the Temple, some heathens were waiting, many of whom wanted to give themselves to Jesus. They saw the tears of the Apostles. On learning their desire, Jesus told them that there was no time now, but that they should later on have recourse to His Apostles and disciples, to whom He gave power similar to His own. Then taking the way by which He had entered on Palm Sunday, and frequently turning with sad and earnest words to gaze upon the Temple, He left the city, went to the public inn at the foot of Mount Olivet, and after nightfall back to Bethania.
Here Jesus taught at Lazarus’, continuing His instructions during the evening meal, at which the women, who now kept themselves less aloof, served. Jesus gave orders for a plentiful meal to be prepared at Simon’s public house on the following day.
It was very quiet in Jerusalem all this day. The Pharisees did not go to the Temple, but assembled in council. They were very anxious on account of Judas’ non-appearance. Many good people of the city were in great distress at Jesus’ predictions, which they had heard from the disciples. I saw Nicodemus, Joseph of Arimathea, Simeon’s sons, and others looking very troubled and anxious, though they had not yet withdrawn from the rest of the Jews. They were still mixing with them in the affairs of everyday life. I saw Veronica also, going about her house sad and wringing her hands. Her husband inquired the cause of her affliction. Her house was situated in Jerusalem between the Temple and Mount Calvary. Seventy-six of the disciples lodged in the halls surrounding the Cenacle.
Magdalen’s Last Anointing
Next morning Jesus instructed a large number of the disciples, more than sixty, in the court before Lazarus’ house. In the afternoon, about three o’clock, tables were laid for them in the court, and during their meal Jesus and the Apostles served. I saw Jesus going from table to table handing something to this one, something to that, and teaching all the time, Judas was not present. He was away making purchases for the entertainment to be given at Simon’s. Magdalen also had gone to Jerusalem, to buy precious ointment. The Blessed Virgin, to whom Jesus had that morning announced His approaching death, was inexpressibly sad. Her niece, Mary Cleophas, was always around her, consoling her. Full of grief, they went together to the disciples’ inn.
Meantime, Jesus conversed with the disciples upon His approaching death and the events that would follow it. One, He said, that had been on intimate terms with Him, one that owed Him a great debt of gratitude, was about to sell Him to the Pharisees. He would not even set a price upon Him, but would merely ask: “What will ye give me for Him?” If the Pharisees were buying a slave, it would be at a fixed price, but He would be sold for whatever they chose to give. The traitor would sell Him for less than the cost of a slave! The disciples wept bitterly, and became so afflicted that they had to cease eating, but Jesus pressed them graciously. I have often noticed that the disciples were much more affectionate toward Jesus than were the Apostles. I think as they were not so much with Him, they were on that account more humble.
This morning Jesus spoke of many things with His Apostles. As they did not understand everything, He commanded them to write down what they could not comprehend, saying that when He would send His Spirit to them, they would recall those points and be able to seize their meaning. I saw John and some of the others taking notes, Jesus dwelt long upon their flight, when He Himself would be delivered up to the Pharisees. They could not think that such a thing would ever happen to them, and yet they really did take to flight. He predicted many things that were to follow that event, and told them how they should conduct themselves.
At last He spoke of His holy Mother. He said that through compassion, she would suffer with Him all the cruel torture of His death, that with Him she would die His bitter death, and still would have to survive Him fifteen years.
Jesus indicated to the disciples whither they should betake themselves: some to Arimathea, some to Sichar, and others to Kedar. The three that had accompanied Him on His last journey were not to return home. Since their ideas and sentiments had undergone so great a change, it would not be well for them to return to their country, otherwise they might give scandal or, on account of the opposition of friends, run the risk of falling back into their former way of acting. Eliud and Eremenzear went, I think, to Sichar, but Silas remained where he was. And thus Jesus went on instructing His followers with extraordinary love, counseling them on everything. I saw many of them dispersing toward evening.
It was during this instruction that Magdalen came back from Jerusalem with the ointment she had brought. She had gone to Veronica’s and stayed there while Veronica saw to the purchase of the ointment, which was of three kinds, the most precious that could be procured. Magdalen had expended upon it all the money she had left. One was a flask of the oil of spikenard. She bought the flasks together with their contents. The former were of a clear, whitish, though not transparent material, almost like mother-of-pearl, though not mother-of-pearl. They were in shape like little urns, the swelling base ornamented with knobs, and they had screw-tops. Magdalen carried the vessels under her mantle in a pocket, which hung on her breast suspended by a cord that passed over one shoulder and back across the back. John Mark’s mother went back with her to Bethania, and Veronica accompanied them a part of the way. As they were going through Bethania, they met Judas who, concealing his indignation, spoke to Magdalen. Magdalen had heard from Veronica that the Pharisees had resolved to arrest Jesus and put Him to death, but not yet, on account of the crowds of strangers and especially the numerous pagans that followed Him. This news Magdalen imparted to the other women.
The women were at Simon’s helping to prepare for the entertainment, for which Judas had pur-chased everything necessary. He had entirely emptied the purse today, secretly thinking that he would get all back again in the evening. From a man who kept a garden in Bethania, he bought vegetables, two lambs, fruit, fish, honey, etc. The dining hall used at Simon’s today was different from that in which Jesus and His friends had dined once before, that is, on the day after the triumphal entrance into the Temple. Today they dined in an open hall at the back of the house, and which looked out upon the courtyard. It had been ornamented for the occasion. In the ceiling was an opening which was covered with a transparent veil and which looked like a little cupola. On either side of this cupola hung verdant pyramids of a brownish-green, succulent plant with small round leaves. The pyramids were green likewise at the base, and it seemed to me that they always remained green and fresh. Under this ceiling ornamentation stood the seat for Jesus. One side of the table, that toward the open colonnade through which the viands were brought across the courtyard, was left free. Simon, who served, alone had his place on that side. There too on the floor, under the table, stood three water jugs, tall and flat.
The guests reclined during this repast on low crossbenches, which in the back had a support, and in front an arm upon which to lean. The benches stood in pairs, and they were sufficiently wide to admit of the guests’ sitting two and two, facing each other. Jesus reclined at the middle of the table upon a seat to Himself. On this occasion the women ate in an open hall to the left. Looking obliquely across the courtyard, they could see the men at table.
When all was prepared, Simon and his servant, in festal robes, went to conduct Jesus, the Apostles, and Lazarus. Simon wore a long robe, a girdle embroidered in figures, and on his arm a long fur-lined maniple. The servant wore a sleeveless jacket. Simon escorted Jesus; the servant, the Apostles. They did not traverse the street to Simon’s, but went in their festal robes back through the garden into the hall. There were numbers of people in Bethania, and the crowds of strangers who had come through a desire to see Lazarus raised somewhat of a tumult. It was also a cause of surprise and dissatisfaction to the people that Simon, whose house formerly stood open, had purchased so large a supply of provisions and closed his establishment. They became in a short time angry and inquisitive, and almost scaled the walls during the meal. I do not remember having seen any foot-washing going on, but only some little purification before entering the hall.
Several large drinking glasses stood on the table, and beside each, two smaller ones. There were three kinds of beverages: one greenish, another red, and the third yellow. I think it was some kind of pear juice. The lamb was served first. It lay stretched out on an oval dish, the head resting on the forefeet. The dish was placed with the head toward Jesus. Jesus took a white knife, like bone or stone, inserted it into the back of the lamb, and cut, first to one side of the neck and then to the other. After that He drew the knife down, making a cut from the head along the whole back. The lines of this cut at once reminded me of the Cross. He then laid the slices thus detached before John, Peter and Himself, and directed Simon, the host, to carve the lamb down the sides, and lay the pieces right and left before the Apostles and Lazarus as they sat in order.
The holy women were seated around their own table. Magdalen, who was in tears all the time, sat opposite the Blessed Virgin. There were seven or nine present. They too had a little lamb. It was smaller than that of the other table and lay stretched out flat in the dish, the head toward the Mother of God. She it was who carved it.
The lamb was followed by three large fish and several small ones. The large ones lay in the dish as if swimming in a stiff, white sauce. Then came pastry, little rolls in the shape of lambs, birds with outstretched wings, honeycombs, green herbs like lettuce, and a sauce in which the last-named were steeped. I think it was oil. This course was followed by another of fruit that looked like pears. In the center of the dish was something like a gourd upon which other fruit, like grapes, were stuck by their stems. The dishes used throughout the meal were partly white, the inside partly yellow; and they were deep or shallow according to their contents.
Jesus taught during the whole meal. It was nearing the close of His discourse; the Apostles were stretched forward in breathless attention. Simon, whose services were no longer needed, sat motionless, listening to every word, when Magdalen rose quietly from her seat among the holy women. She had around her a thin, bluish-white mantle, something like the material worn by the three Holy Kings, and her flowing hair was covered with a veil. Laying the ointment in a fold of her mantle, she passed through the walk that was planted with shrubbery, entered the hall, went up behind Jesus, and cast herself down at His feet, weeping bitterly. She bent her face low over the foot that was resting on the couch, while Jesus Himself raised to her the other that was hanging a little toward the floor. Magdalen loosened the sandals and anointed Jesus’ feet on the soles and upon the upper part. Then with both hands drawing her flowing hair from beneath her veil, she wiped the Lord’s anointed feet, and replaced the sandals. Magdalen’s action caused some interruption in Jesus’ discourse. He had observed her approach, but the others were taken by surprise. Jesus said: “Be not scandalized at this woman!” and then addressed some words softly to her. She now arose, stepped behind Him and poured over His head some costly water, and that so plentifully that it ran down upon His garments. Then with her hand she spread some of the ointment from the crown down the hind part of His head. The hall was filled with the delicious odor. The Apostles whispered together and muttered their displeasure—even Peter was vexed at the interruption. Magdalen, weeping and veiled, withdrew around behind the table. When she was about to pass before Judas, he stretched forth his hand to stay her while he indignantly addressed to her some words on her extravagance, saying that the purchase money might have been given to the poor. Magdalen made no reply. She was weeping bitterly. Then Jesus spoke, bidding them let her pass, and saying that she had anointed Him for His death, for later she would not be able to do it, and that wherever this Gospel would be preached, her action and their murmuring would also be recounted.
Magdalen retired, her heart full of sorrow. The rest of the meal was disturbed by the displeasure of the Apostles and the reproaches of Jesus. When it was over, all returned to Lazarus’. Judas, full of wrath and avarice, thought within himself that he could no longer put up with such things. But concealing
his feelings, he laid aside his festal garment, and pretended that he had to go back to the public house to see that what remained of the meal was given to the poor. Instead of doing that, however, he ran full speed to Jerusalem. I saw the devil with him all the time, red, thin-bodied, and angular. He was before him and behind him, as if lighting the way for him, Judas saw through the darkness. He stumbled not, but ran along in perfect safety. I saw him in Jerusalem running into the house in which, later on, Jesus was exposed to scorn and derision. The Pharisees and High Priests were still together, but Judas did not enter their assembly. Two of them went out and spoke with him below in the courtyard. When he told them that he was ready to deliver Jesus and asked what they would give for Him, they showed great joy, and returned to announce it to the rest of the council. After awhile, one came out again and made an offer of thirty pieces of silver. Judas wanted to receive them at once, but they would not give them to him. They said that he had once before been there, and then had absented himself for so long, that he should do his duty, and then they would pay him. I saw them offering hands as a pledge of the contract, and on both sides tearing something from their clothing. The Pharisees wanted Judas to stay awhile and tell them when and how the bargain would be completed. But he insisted upon going, that suspicion might not be excited. He said that he had yet to find things out more precisely, that next day he could act without attracting attention. I saw the devil the whole time between Judas and the Pharisees. On leaving Jerusalem, Judas ran back again to Bethania, where he changed his garments and joined the other Apostles.
Jesus remained at Lazarus’, while His followers withdrew to their own inn. That night Nicodemus came from Jerusalem, and on his return Lazarus accompanied him a part of the way.