The world is drawing towards its end; like the Ruler’s son, it begins to die. Tormented by the fever of the passions, which have been excited in Capharnaum, the city of business and pleasure — it is too weak to go itself to the Physician who could cure it.
It is for its father, for the pastors, who, by baptism, gave it the life of grace, and govern the christian people as rulers of the holy Church — it is for them to go to Jesus and beseech him to restore the sick man to health.
St. John begins this account by mentioning the place where they were to find Jesus: it was at Cana, the city of the marriage feast, and where he first manifested his power in the banquet hall; it is in heaven that the Man-God abides, now that he has quitted our earth, where he has left his disciples deprived of the Bridegroom, and having to pass a certain period of time in the field of penance.
Capharnaum signifies the field of penance and of consolation, which penance brings with it. Such was this earth intended to be, when Man was driven from Eden; such was the consolation to which, during this life, the sinner was to aspire; and because of his having sought after other consolations — because of his having pretended at turning this field of penance into a new paradise — the world is now to be destroyed.
Man has exchanged the life-giving delights of Eden for the pleasures which kill the soul and ruin the body, and drawn down the divine vengeance.
Source: The Liturgical Year by Dom Prosper Guéranger.
Related: Dies Irae (The Day of Wrath)
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