A reading from the gospel according to Luke 19:41-44
41 As Jesus drew near Jerusalem, he saw the city and wept over it,
42 saying, “If this day you only knew what makes for peace – but now it is hidden from your eyes.
43 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.
44 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.”
Reflection: Peace or Violence
Jesus weeps because He too is human. Yet He is of course divine and as such, He weeps because he saw beforehand the coming destruction of Jerusalem. Incidentally, the name Jerusalem means City of Peace. Yet, Jesus exclaimed that the place will be the site of extreme violence from its enemies. What a disturbing announcement it is! In His eyes, the coming horror is unbearable.
Why would such a terrible thing happen to the City of peace? Jesus Himself provides the answer. It did not recognize the time God visited it. The people there rejected His only Son whom He has sent. Their hearts were as hard as stone and they were blind enough not to see the signs given them. Thus the days are coming their very “Holy City” will be laid to waste and the people and their children will be smashed to the ground.
The words of Jesus became true in the year 70 AD or almost 40 years after the His crucifixion when the Romans made a siege on Jerusalem and destroyed the whole city including its temple and killed untold numbers of people. This was not the first time that destruction occurred to the city. It also happened before when Nebuchadnezzar II of the Babylonian empire laid siege on it. The message is the same: Unless the people repent and return to God, they will be destroyed.
Now we fully know why Jesus weeps. He weeps not just because of His humanity but because of His overflowing compassion for His people. After all the healing, feeding and other miracles that He had done, the people still rejected Him and are still rejecting Him. What else can He do? Offer Himself to die an ignominious death for the ransom of many.
Jesus is also warning us today. The days are coming when He will complete the judgment of this world. Let us listen to Him and be converted.