As Jesus drew near Jerusalem, he saw the city and wept over it, saying, “If this day you only knew what makes for peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes. For the days are coming upon you when your enemies will raise a palisade against you; they will encircle you and hem you in on all sides. They will smash you to the ground and your children within you, and they will not leave one stone upon another within you because you did not recognize the time of your visitation.” (Luke 19:41-44)
Jesus weeping. There are a few times when Jesus displays the strongest of emotions; anger and sorrow in particular, and every time he does it is always when he is confronted with a lack of faith.
And in this Gospel passage, Jesus weeps over Jerusalem for the same reason. Jesus foresees his crucifixion, but even worse, he foresees that, despite his crucifixion, Jerusalem will not be spared. The forces that be, will still try to squash this new Church under their heel. The forces that be, will not be converted by the resurrection. And Jerusalem will be destroyed and the temple gone forever.
This has such a visible effect on him in that he sheds tears for the people of God, but they are not tears of self-pity. His divine heart longs for the salvation of all men and women past, present, and future, and he is revealing through his tears his Father’s love for every one of his children. He longs for all to be saved and to come into his glory!
Just as they were then, so they are now. He sheds tears for each of us when we stumble through our faith or, worse yet, we deny our faith.
There are so many around us who deny their faith. There are those who don’t have time for their faith. They are simply too busy to do the “God thing.” There are those who, for one reason or another, have used a personal tragedy or a failed opportunity to turn away from Christ. There are those who twist their faith to justify anger, hatred, lack of compassion. There are those who believe that their wrongdoings of the past disqualify them from God’s love and God’s forgiveness.
But just as a good cry has a cathartic effect on our minds and hearts, so too do the tears of Jesus weeping over us and around us. We live in a fractured world. We live in a world where so many try to do good but the world around us dulls the beauty of their actions and world. There is a shortage of faith in this world.
That shortage of faith also means that there are too many missed opportunities. Each of us knows that we don’t know the moment – the moment when we or those we love are called to leave this place. If that is so then why we do walk away from the extraordinary love that Jesus Christ has for each of us? Why do we lose the moment?
This moment could be the moment for you and for me. The moment when we stop in our tracks, fall to our knees and allow his tears to wash over us. To allow those tears to wash us clean. To allow those tears to embolden us to a new life – a new life marked by our actions. Actions that reflect the love and the life of Jesus Christ.
Jesus is right here, right now, knocking at the door of our hearts just as He did at the gates of Jerusalem. Will you let Him weep?
Or will you stand up and walk anew in His love. Emboldened to proclaim your faith in Him. Emboldened to truly stand up to injustice. Emboldened to decry evil in whatever form it exists and wherever it exists. Emboldened to recognize the dignity and equality of each person. Emboldened to stop twisting our interpretation of the words of Christ to justify our personal perspective and instead to follow the words of Christ. Follow them by living them right now. Emboldened to drop your political label and wear only one label – the label of a Christian.
In time, the Lord will take charge of this world. In time the Lord will sort out the wheat from the chaff. That time may be beyond yours and mine. But this world needs you and I washed clean by the tears of Jesus Christ and strengthened by His love to claim our place in this world and affect this world by living His words.
Prayer of The Day
“Lord, you have visited and redeemed your people. May I not miss the grace of your visitation today as you move to bring your people into greater righteousness and holiness of life. Purify my heart and mind that I may I understand your ways better and conform my life more fully to your will.”
God calls us to follow Jesus’ way of peace and love. That means we need to be willing to allow God’s Spirit to reveal to us, and convict us of, those places where we do violence to others through our passive aggression, gossip, character assassination, cutting words, and defensiveness. And we need to allow God’s Spirit to shift our gaze to our connections with others. As Richard Rohr says, “When we see our connection with others before emphasizing our differences, we will be much happier, and it will be a much happier world, too.”