The first three days of Holy Week are referred to in the Church as "The End." Jesus was walking into
the very midst of those who sought to take His life. He experienced deep anguish within Himself (John
12:27). Despite the triumph of the Palm weekend, which had confirmed the outcome of His Passion
even before it had taken place, the Lord had already told His disciples that:
...he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and
scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. (Matthew 16:21)
The moment of truth had arrived. No longer did Jesus speak to the people from boats or in the
countryside. He spoke openly in Jerusalem itself. He confronted His enemies and publicly refuted
Addressing Himself to the religious leaders and students of the Divine Law, the Pharisees, scribes,
and elders, Jesus called them hypocrites, blind guides, murderers, and liars.
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because you shut the kingdom of heaven against
men; for you neither enter yourselves, nor allow those who would enter to go in” (Matthew 23:13).
He went directly to the Temple and cleansed it of the crooked moneychangers. He spoke to them
sharply: "It is written, 'My house shall be called a house of prayer'; but you make it a den of robbers"
(Matthew 21:13). He refuted all the questions which the leaders put to Him in order to "entangle him in
his talk" (Matthew 22: 15ff.) He condemned the fig tree which had not brought forth fruit. He spoke
and acted with great urgency:
“Now is the judgment of this world, now shall the ruler of this world be cast out” (John 12:31).
The moment of truth revealed that even in the supposedly most religious and righteous places, the
world was under the sway of evil. The Messiah came to inaugurate a New Age.
THE SERVICES OF THE BRIDEGROOM
On Palm Sunday evening the Services of Holy Week begin. Long Gospel readings on the first three
days divulge the entire content of the final discourses of Christ. In these discourses he is far from the
"sweet Jesus" of popular imagery. He speaks with clarity concerning the end of this age.
But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but
the Father only... Watch therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming.
(Matthew 24:36, 42)