November 19, 2020 – Thursday of the 33rd Week in Ordinary Time
Click here for the readings (https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/111920.cfm)
There were only two occasions when Jesus was described in the scriptures to have wept. The first was at the death of his close friend, Lazarus. At that time, he was moved to tears because he saw the grieving family of Lazarus. The people even said that the tears of Jesus was an expression of his love to a friend. Another account is this Gospel we have heard today. Jesus wept over Jerusalem, because of its coming death and destruction in the future which really did happen.
A weeping Jesus presents to us the human face of God. Indeed, God weeps. Jesus feels. He gets disappointed, frustrated, angry and also able to feel joy and happiness. This scenario in Luke’s Gospel affirms these qualities in Jesus.
But why did Jesus wept over Jerusalem? Jesus realized that Jerusalem, its people, the authorities and others had not come to believe and recognize him as the Messiah. In fact, Jerusalem refused to believe in him despite his miracles and preaching of the Kingdom of God.
This reality brought Jesus in a very emotional state. He wept. He was crying because he loved the people. Jerusalem did not accept him and did not recognize that in him, God has visited them. Because of such action, Jerusalem will suffer a consequence. She will be destroyed. The city and the temple shall be shattered to the ground. In the year 70 AD, Jerusalem was surrounded and invaded by the Roman Army. Everything was destroyed. That was the consequence of rejecting the Lord, his love and faithfulness to his people.
What does it say to us now? The Lord always desires that each of us and as a community be united in him. To be united in God means to recognize God’s presence manifested in us. We are called and invited by the Lord to accept him as our savior, our Messiah. We are only able to recognize and accept the Lord as God and savior when we are also conscious and aware of God’s visitation in us. God visits us in our lives in many ways. Both in joyful and sad events in our life can be occasions where the Lord visits us. It is a challenge for us then to make ourselves be accustomed to the workings of God in our life.
Likewise, what was really the difficulty of Jerusalem in recognizing Jesus as the Messiah? Jerusalem as the city-center was portrayed to be powerful. It is independent and dominant. These qualities made Jerusalem, the authorities and its people to be self-absorbed, arrogant and selfish. Jerusalem did not need God that’s why she refused and rejected Jesus. The ones who recognized Jesus as the Lord and Messiah were those at the margins, the sick, the blind, the lame, those who were oppressed and deprived, the poor and the abandoned. These were the powerless and vulnerable people who were able to recognize God’s visitation.
I am indeed reminded how Jesus showed his own vulnerability by weeping, a human condition that expresses the emotions of love and compassion. Jesus indeed will be deeply saddened when we refuse to accept him and not to recognize his presence in our life. Thus, to be arrogant, to think that we can do things on our own, to refuse help from someone and to be in control of everything in our life are forms of blatant denial of God’s visit and presence. This brings us to self-centeredness, self-absorption and to our own destruction as a person.
The celebration of the Eucharist is a concrete expression of our personal and communal confession that Jesus is Lord and our savior. Together we give thanks to the Father, we break and share the bread in remembrance of him who offered his life for us and who has come to visit us again so that we may be fully alive. Hinaut pa.