Friday, January 02, 2009


And Jesus being come out of the temple, went away. And his disciples came to shew him the buildings of the temple. And he answering, said to them: "Do you see all these things? Amen I say to you, there shall not be left here a stone upon a stone that shall not be destroyed."
And when he was sitting on mount Olivet, the disciples came to him privately, saying: "Tell us when shall these things be? And what shall be the sign of thy coming and of the consummation of the world?" And Jesus answering, said to them: "Take heed that no man seduce you. For many will come in my name saying, 'I am Christ.' And they will seduce many. And you shall hear of wars and rumours of wars. See that ye be not troubled. For these things must come to pass: but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: And there shall be pestilences and famines and earthquakes in places. Now all these are the beginnings of sorrows. Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted and shall put you to death: and you shall be hated by all nations for my name's sake. And then shall many be scandalized and shall betray one another and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise and shall seduce many. And because iniquity hath abounded, the charity of many shall grow cold. But he that shall persevere to the end, he shall be saved." (Matt. 24:1-13)

IN THE INTERVAL CIVIL WAR BROKE OUT IN JERUSALEM, and three powerful parties were fighting against each other. The principal citizens were executed or assassinated. Bloodshed took place in the streets, and even in the outer courts of the Temple. A part of the city was reduced to ruins, and thousands lost their lives. Each party destroyed the supplies of the others, and thus provisions which might have sustained the inhabitants for several years were lost. In the spring of the year 70 Titus appeared with his army, and pitched his camp before the city. Earth-works were thrown up, and a breach was made in the third or outer wall by the battering- rams of the Romans. After this outer wall had been destroyed, Titus succeeded, notwithstanding the gallant resistance of the Jews, in overthrowing the second wall, and then, after a hard fight of four days, he made his way into the city, and took possession of Fort Antonia, in spite of the heroic defense made by its garrison. By this time the famine in the city was very great. The siege had begun at the time of the Pasch, when Jerusalem was crowded with pilgrims, so that at the time that the enemy surrounded the city, there were more than a million people within its walls. Some of them tried to steal out at night to search for herbs and roots, but such as were surprised were scourged and crucified by the Romans, and before long the crosses on which they were put to death stood like a forest round the Roman camp. To prevent any attempt at escape from the doomed city, and to ensure its reduction by starvation, Titus caused a wall to be built all round it. The famine was so great, that the inhabitants devoured the most loathsome things, old leather, mouldy hay, and even cow-dung. One mother killed and ate her own child! Added to the famine, there raged a devastating plague, and in the course of seven weeks no less than 716,000 dead bodies were carried away or thrown over the walls into the enemy's camp.

[From 'A Practical Commentary on Holy Scripture' by Bishop Knecht, D.D.]
(1899 Douay-Rheims Bible)