As Jesus drew near Jerusalem, he saw the city and wept over it. -Luke: 19:41
Do you remember the last time you wept? Were they tears of joy or tears of sorrow? Were you overjoyed by the generosity and love of the people who gathered around you, surprising you with great expressions of affection, or were you overwhelmed by a crushing betrayal, being discounted like a ripped candy wrapper or a banana peel? Tears, like smiles, are truly a window into our inner self, brought about the high and low points of life, by those looks of love or those stares of hate.
With this Gospel, we see Jesus weeping bitter tears over a city that he dearly loved. Jesus was not unaccustomed to weeping, weeping as an individual or weeping with people he loved and who seemed inconsolable. In our four Gospels, there are 26 references to weeping: fathers weeping for ailing daughters, widow mothers burying their only sons, a sinful woman weeping at the foot of Jesus and a contrite Peter weeping bitterly for denying Jesus with curses. Jesus blesses those who weep, for they will be consoled. Jesus comforts the weeping Martha and Mary by raising their brother Lazarus to life. And Jesus turns Mary Magdalene’s tears into joy as he meets her at the empty tomb, as the Risen Jesus. Tears are part of the Gospel accounts and tears are also part of our own lives and our human condition. If we haven’t wept, it may be because we have deliberately denied our human reality and our human condition.
For me, this Gospel invites me to think about the reasons I weep. Do I cry for myself, the wrongs that I have suffered and the failures I have endured? Or do I cry for those who have been crushed by life and injustice, by unavoidable tragedies by being in the wrong place at the wrong time? Do other people’s tears lead us to compassion? Do they move us to cry with them, to identify with their pain and their suffering, and do we take the time to console them as Jesus did to those women who were weeping for him as he made his way to Calvary and his death on the Cross?
So, when Jesus came upon the city of Jerusalem, he wept. He wept because he had done all he could to bring them to his loving Father, with the Spirit of Love everlasting, and felt completely rejected, willfully rebuffed by the religious leaders, the elders of the people, the learned and the wise. Oh, how he wished that they would embrace him as the Son of God! Nevertheless, he doesn’t abandon his beloved city. He embraces the Hour before him, the Cross of Crucifixion and the Resurrection from the Dead, so great is His Love for us!
No matter how many times Jesus has wept for us, his Love is Everlasting!
Fr. Clemente Barrón, C.P. is a member of Mater Dolorosa Community in Sierra Madre, California.