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Bethany, as we have seen, was on the eastern slope of Mount Olivet, not far from the base. From thence our Blessed Saviour had a choice of two ways to Jerusalem.

One by the high-road round the base of the hill. This road runs southward for a short distance, and then turning round Mount Olivet enters into the valley of the Cedron and runs northward along the eastern wall of the city, passing the Garden of Gethsemani.

The other and shorter route lay over Mount Olivet. Certain modern English writers maintain that we have no means of ascertaining which road our Saviour chose on the Palm Sunday.

But with regard to this triumphal procession of our Lord, one thing is certain from the Gospel, that it passed through Bethphage. If the site of Bethphage can be ascertained, the

. question is settled. These English writers, because no traces remain above ground of the little town, conclude at once that it is impossible to fix its site. The Franciscan Fathers, on the other hand, who have been for six centuries the Guardians of the Holy Places, consider that there is no doubt about the site of Bethphage, and all except a few English and American writers side with the Franciscan Fathers.

In ascertaining the position of ancient Bethphage the Franciscans followed the same method which they had found to be so successful in other parts of Palestine. They began by inquiring diligently among the Arab inhabitants whether there was any tradition among them as to this site. They found that the Arabs had no doubt as to the spot where the town stood. Quite recently, a traveller told his guide to ask an Arab whom he met by chance on Mount Olivet whereabouts was the town of Bethphage. He pointed at once unhesitatingly to the spot which is commonly believed to be the true site. The Franciscan Fathers after a long experience have learned to place great reliance on

We may,

the fidelity of tradition among the Arabs, and by excavating have been able to furnish most wonderful proofs of the correctness of their traditions.

They acted thus at Bethphage. On the slope of Mount Olivet, about midway between Bethany and the top of the hill, they purchased a small plot of ground on the site where the Arabs placed Bethphage. On the surface there was nothing at all to justify this expenditure. But when they excavated they came on two very consoling witnesses. In the first place they uncovered a block of stone between three and four feet in height and about the same in length and breadth. When the earth was all cleared away from this block they were able to discern ancient paintings on its sides. These paintings are still to be seen. The Fathers have built a small house on the spot, so that the stone and the paintings are now under cover. One of these paintings represents the ass being brought to our Saviour. Another, the raising of Lazarus.

On clearing away the ground still further, the indefatigable Franciscan Fathers and Brothers uncovered the foundation of a small church; one of the many, it is supposed, with which St. Helen did honour to the Holy Places.

therefore, safely trust the Arab tradition, and take for granted that Bethphage stood higher up on Mount Olivet than Bethany. This being so, it is quite clear that our Lord on Palm Sunday went by the shorter route over the hill to Jerusalem. This conclusion is, I think, rendered certain by the words in St. Luke xix. : When He was now coming near the descent of Mount Olivet. Near the descent, would be when He had reached the top, and was about to descend.

A further question arises here as to the time of this triumphal entry of our Lord. St. Matthew tells the story of this procession in his 21st chapter, and does not speak of the supper at Bethany till the 26th chapter. St. Mark follows the same order. He records the entry into Jerusalem in his with chapter, and the supper in Simon's house, in the 14th. If we had nothing but these two Gospels to guide us, we should not dare to place this entry of our Lord after the supper; but in St. John's Gospel we find these two incidents in reversed order: the supper first, and the entry on the day after. St. John on this point is very precise and clear. Immediately after his account of the supper, he writes, On the next day a great multitude took branches of palm trees, etc. Como mentators without hesitation adopt this chronology of St. John, first because he wrote much later than the other Evangelists, and one of his objects was to clear up points left unsettled by them; and secondly, because they have ascertained by careful study that St. Matthew and St. Mark, in many parts of their narrative, do not propose to arrange events in chronological order, but merely to leave on record some of our Lord's remarkable sayings or doings.

St. John then gives us two dates not given by the other Evangelists. He tells us, first, that our Lord arrived at Bethania six days before the Pasch (St. John xii.). This might mean on the Friday or Saturday of Passion

Week. For the six days might be counted either from Good Friday, or Holy Thursday; since though the Paschal supper was held on the Thursday night, yet the following day could be, as we have seen elsewhere, called the day of the Pasch.

Then, secondly, St. John also us that our Lord's entry took place the day after the supper-on the next day (St. John xii.).

The order then appears to be that our Saviour arrived from Jericho on Friday, that the supper at Simon's house took place on Saturday, and the procession to Jerusalem on our Palm Sunday.


And when they drew nigh to Jerusalem, and were come to Beth

phage, unto Mount Olivet, then Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them : Go ye into the village that is over against you, and immediately you shall find an ass tied and a colt with her (on which no man yet hath sitten), loose them and bring them to Me. And if any man shall say anything to you, say ye that the Lord hath need of them, and forthwith he will let them go. And the disciples going did as Jesus commanded them. And they found the colt tied before the gate in the ineeting of two ways. And as they were loosing the colt, the owner thereof said, Why loose you the colt? But they said, Because the Lord hath need of him, and they brought him to Jesus (St. Matt. xxi. ; St. Mark xi. ; St. Luke xix.)

A. Say ye that the Lord hath need of them, and forthwith he will let them go.

So, by rights, it should always be. As soon as I hear that the Lord hath need of anything that He has given to me, at once I ought to let it go. For the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away. As it hath pleased the Lord so is it done. Blessed be the name of the Lord (Job i.). Is not He thy Father, that hath possessed thee, and made thee, and created thee? (Deut. xxxii.). But, alas! O my God, to Thee only have I sinned (Psalm 1.). If a great man on this earth asks, I I am in a hurry to give. If Thou ask, I am slow.



B. To the Jews God, using our human language, expressed by the mouth of Jeremias His holy envy of Jonadab, because he was reverenced and obeyed by his children. Go, He said to Jeremias, to the house of the Rechabites and speak to them, and bring them into the house of the Lord, into one of the chambers of the treasure and thou shalt give thein wine to drink. And I brought them into the house of the Lord, and I set before the sons of the house of the Rechabites pots full of wine and cups, and I said to them, Drink ye wine. And they answered, We will not drink wine, because Jonadab, the son of Rechab, our father, commanded us, saying, You shall drink no wine, neither you nor your children for ever. And the word of the Lord came to Jeremias, saying: Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, Go and say to the men of Juda, Will you not receive instruction to obey My words ? saith the Lord. The words of Fonadab, the son of Rechab, by which he commanded his sons not to drink wine, have prevailed, and they have drunk none to this day, because they obeyed the commandment of their

father: but I have spoken to you, rising early and speaking, and

you have not obeyed Me. And I have sent to you all My servants, the Prophets, rising early and sending ... and you have not inclined your ear, nor hearkened to Me (Jerem. xxxv.).

Has not our Lord a similar reproach to make against us now from His tabernacle ? “To the man of Bethphage My messengers had only to say, The Master hath need of them, and he will let them go; but if I send My messengers to you, to say that I have need of help from you, am I sure that

you will give it? O My people, in what have I molested thee? Answer thou Me" (Micheas vi.).

C. The Master hath need of them. Observe the poverty of our Blessed Saviour. In this day of modest triumph, He has nothing but what men choose to lend, or give to Him. And now in our days He is quite as poor as then. Here on earth man is rich, God is poor. The Heaven of Heavens is the Lord's; but the earth He hath given to the children of men (Psalm cxiii.). It is as when a good father makes over a property to his eldest son. He has given it, and


will not take it back. The Lord hath sworn and will not repent (Psalm cix.). Therefore in this world man is master, and our Lord is poor, and quite dependent. If He wants bread for His poor, He comes to us for it. If He wants instruction for His little ones, He comes to us. Even when He wants to offer the Everlasting Sacrifice for men, He cannot do it till we give Him the juice of the grape, and the wheaten bread, and provide an altar, and the priest, and the vestments. If He wants to soothe the soul of the dying, He cannot carry out His loving wish till we give Him as an alms the oil of olives which is to be to the dying man the oil of peace and gladness.

. Oh, how humble of Heart our Blessed Lord is when He stoops so low as to tell me that He hath need of me! We often say, “ I do not choose to be under obligation to this man”. Our Lord and our God wishes most ardently to be under obligation to each of us, that thus He may have a plea for pouring out all His riches on us throughout eternity.

Being Himself Charity, He cannot but love charity, and cannot help desiring that we His children be like to Him in charity. Therefore, this law He has firmly established, Give and it shall be given to you. And in order to induce us to give willingly and lovingly, even as He gives to us, He makes Himself completely dependent on us, and has continually to send us this message : “ The Lord hath need of you”. St. Augustine in his meditations used at times to indulge in a loving day-dream, planning what he would do for God, if he were God and God were Augustine. But is this a mere day-dream? What is our actual state at present ? For my little short hour on earth I am the ruler, and my God and my Lord hath need of me and comes to beg of me. O man, be very bountiful to Him, for He desires to be infinitely bountiful to you for ever and for ever during the long eternity.

D. It is indeed true that the inspired Psalmist wrote: Thou art my God, because Thou hast no need of my goods

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