St Clement I, pope & martyr, pray for us
33rd Week in Ordinary Time : Thursday 23rd November 2023
1 Mac 2:15-29; Ps. 49:1-2,5-6,14-15;
Lk. 19:41-44 (Ps. Wk. I)
Jesus approached the city of Jerusalem, riding on an ass. What met Him was a rousing, spontaneous, royal welcome by many people waving palm branches and shouting praise, adoration and joy.
Yet this triumphal entry to Jerusalem did not overpower Jesus. As He gazed at the people revelling around Him against the cityscape of Jerusalem, He was so overcome with deep sorrow and grief that He wept!
Why did Jesus cry? What was He crying for?
He was not crying for Himself over His immanent fate of rejection, suffering and death in Jerusalem. Still, He openly and emotionally lamented over the city and the nation of Israel it represented.
Jerusalem means ‘City of Peace’. God’s people are exultant to ‘pray for the peace of Jerusalem.’ (Psalm 122:6). But history has shown that Jerusalem has become a city of weeping. Jeremiah (8:23) cried over the fall of Jerusalem in 586 BC: ‘I would that my head were a well of water and my eyes a fountain of tears to weep day and night for those of my dear people who have been killed.’
In today’s Gospel text, Jesus’ lamentation expresses His sorrow for the sins and brokenness of Jerusalem even as He foresees the punishment it will soon receive (destruction by the Romans in 70 AD).
Jesus so earnestly desires for Jerusalem to make peace with God. Jesus is crying with the Prophets over Jerusalem.
Jesus the Christ! Prince of Peace! You weep for our sin. Have mercy on us. Amen.