The Service of the Bridegroom
On Holy Monday (celebrated on Palm Sunday Evening) the Church commemorates Joseph the Patriarch, the beloved son of Jacob. A major figure in the Old Testament. Joseph’s story is told in the final section of the Book of Genesis (Chapters 37-50). Because of his exceptional qualities and remarkable life, our patristic and liturgical tradition portrays Joseph as a prototype, or image of Christ. The story of Joseph illustrates the mystery of God’s providence, promise and redemption.
The Church also commemorates the event of the cursing of The Fig Tree.
"In the morning, as he was returning to the city, he was hungry. And seeing a fig tree by the wayside he went to it, and found nothing on it but leaves only. And he said to it, "May no fruit ever come from you again!" And the fig tree withered at once. When the disciples saw it they marveled, saying, "How did the fig tree wither at once?”
"And Jesus answered them, "Truly, I say to you, if you have faith and never doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, 'Be taken up and cast into the sea,' it will be done. And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith." And when he entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came up to him as he was teaching, and said, "By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?" Jesus answered them, "I also will ask you a question; and if you tell me the answer, then I also will tell you by what authority I do these things. The baptism of John, whence was it? From heaven or from men?" And they argued with one another, "If we say, 'From heaven,' he will say to us, 'Why then did you not believe him?' But if we say, 'From men,' we are afraid of the multitude; for all hold that John was a prophet.” So they answered Jesus, "We do not know." And he said to them, "Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things."
A Closer Look:
The cursing of The Fig Tree, according to Biblical tradition took place near the time of Christ’s Triumphant entry into Jerusalem. This is why it is remembered on Holy Monday.
The fig tree is symbolic of Israel - which has become barren by her failure to recognize and receive Christ and His teachings. The cursing of the fig tree is a parable in action, a symbolic gesture. Its meaning should not be lost on any generation. Christ’s judgment on the faithless, unbelieving, unrepentant and unloving will be certain and decisive on the Last Day.
This episode makes it clear that nominal Christianity is not only inadequate, it is unworthy of God’s Kingdom. Genuine Christian faith is dynamic and fruitful. It permeates one’s whole being and makes the Christian aware that he is already a citizen of heaven. Therefore, our way of thinking, feeling, acting and being must reflect this reality. Those who belong to Christ are called to live and walk in the Spirit; and the Spirit will bear fruit in them: love, joy, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-25).