Joy and Tears of Sorrow

Luke 19: 41-44
1 Mc 2:15-29 / Psa 50

As Jesus drew near and saw the city, He wept over it, saying, “If only you knew today what makes for peace! But now it is hidden from your eyes.”
(Luke 19:41)

If Christ could weep for all our sins
And even died for our salvation,
Should we not try with all our means
To win souls by our invitation?

As Jesus drew near and saw the city (of Jerusalem) He wept over it, saying, “If only you knew today what makes for peace! But now it is hidden from your eyes. For the days shall come upon you, when your enemies will raise a palisade against you and surround you, and hem you in on every side, and dash you to the ground, you and your children within you, and they will not leave one stone upon another in you; because you did not recognize the time of your visitation.” (Luke 19:41-44)

Reflection

Upon entering Jerusalem, Jesus was greeted by the multitudes by throwing their cloaks along his path, and praising God with joy, proclaiming, “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord… peace in heaven, and glory in the highest!” (Lk.19:36-38). It is puzzling therefore to read in the succeeding verses that Jesus was weeping over Jerusalem! How could such a triumphant entry suddenly turn into an occasion of grief? This moving passage in the Gospel of Luke certainly provokes some reflection on the kind of character that our Lord Jesus had.

First of all, we all know that God is omniscient, and Jesus, being the Son of God, saw the terrible desolation that would befall Jerusalem forty years into the future, when the great armies of Rome would lay siege on the city and destroy it, “leaving no stone upon another stone.” His compassionate and loving nature as God and as a sensitive human being drove Him to tears, overcome with grief over the obstinacy, blind pride and the lack of faith of the Jews that led to their ruin. In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus lamented with a similar prophecy, saying, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets, and stone those sent to you, how often I yearned to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were unwilling! Behold, your house will be abandoned, desolate” (Mt. 23:37-38).

Secondly, today’s Gospel passage reveals the passion that Jesus had (and still has) for sinners. He shed tears because the people He loved rejected Him as their Savior. Even though He had foreknowledge of His coming pains and death in Calvary, it was not because of the injustice, fear, or self-pity that Jesus felt such deep sorrow, but His great concern for the loss of so many souls. Such is the great love that God has for sinners that their unwillingness to repent literally drives Him to tears.

Many of God’s children are still uncommitted in having a more personal relationship with His Son, Christ, our Lord. It is for them that Jesus pines for and weeps, because more than anyone, He knows how vulnerable we are unless our lives are anchored on His Word and in the sacraments of His Church. He alone knows how devious the enemy is, and what sin can do to those who take God’s love for granted.

Today we see how Jesus is both God and man. He loves more deeply, and feels more intensely than any human being can. Is it any wonder then that He feels so much pain and sorrow over a sinner’s refusal to accept Him? Let us fill the heart of Jesus with joy by winning sinners over to His flock through our prayers and good example. Let’s set aside our inhibitions, and take bold steps to invite them to our community.

Grant, Lord God, that we may never take Your great love for granted, lest we fall into the same fate as those unfaithful Jews who rejected our Lord Jesus Christ. We repent of all our sins, and pledge our lives to Your holy will. Amen.

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