A curse is on you, for you build monuments to the prophets your ancestors killed. So you approve and agree with what your ancestors did. Is it not so? They got rid of the prophets, and you build monuments to them!
For that reason the wisdom of God also said: I will send prophets and apostles and these people will kill and persecute some of them. But the present generation will have to answer for the blood of all the prophets that has been shed since the foundation of the world, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who was murdered between the altar and the Sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, the people of this time will have to answer for them all.
“A curse is on you, teachers of the law, for you have taken the key of knowledge. You yourselves have not entered, and you prevented others from entering.”
As Jesus left that place, the teachers of the law and the Pharisees began to harass him, asking him endless questions, setting traps to catch him in something he might say.
Let us begin with a clarification. Where have we in the Bible the allusion to the first martyr – Abel – and to the last one – Zechariah? Abel and the voice of his blood are in Gen 4:8-10; the murder of Zechariah is in the second book of Chr 24:20-22. So we can say that the history of Israel is the drama of many martyrs. The summit of this bloody itinerary will be the murder of Jesus in Mount Calvary; later, the deacon, St Stephen, will become the first Christian Martyr. All these instances are always in Jerusalem.
But why did Jesus say that the “present generation” will have to answer for the blood of all prophets? Let us remember the terrible siege of Jerusalem by Roman troops, the destruction of the Temple and the dispersion of the people, in the year 70. Really this generation suffered in a singular way.
The conversion of the Jewish people is prophesied by Paul. In history we always find Jews who became Christians. Teresa of Avila had Jewish ancestors while Edith Stein was a Jew. For this present day, in which we celebrate Teresa as Doctor of the Church, we are invited to pray for this deep encounter in peace.
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