Thursday, November 20 ~ Thirty-Third Week in Ordinary Time
Holy Gospel: Luke 19:41-44 As Jesus drew near Jerusalem, he saw the city and wept over it, saying, “If this day you only knew what makes for peace – but now it is hidden from your eyes. 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. 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.”
Meditation: When God visits his people he comes to establish peace and justice by rooting out our enemies – sin and Satan who enslave us to fear and pride, rebellion and hatred, envy and covetousness, strife and violence, and every form of evil. That is why God both judges and purifies his people – to lead us from our sinful ways to his way of justice, peace, love, and holiness. God actively works among his people to teach us his ways and to save us from the destruction of sin and Satan. Are God’s judgments unjust or unloving? Scripture tells us that “when God’s judgments are revealed in the earth, the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness” (Isaiah 26:9). To pronounce judgment on sin is much less harsh than what will happen if those who sin are not warned to repent. The Lord in his mercy gives us grace and time to turn away from sin, but that time is right now. If we delay, even for a moment, we may discover that grace has passed us by and our time is up.
Prayer: Grant us, we pray, O Lord our God, the constant gladness of being devoted to you, for it is full and lasting happiness to serve with constancy the author of all that is good. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Contemplation: Jerusalem’s lack of faith and rejection of the Messiah leads to its devastation and destruction. Jesus’ lamentation and prophecy echoes the lamentation of Jeremiah who prophesied the first destruction of Jerusalem and its temple. Jeremiah’s lamentation offered hope of deliverance and restoration: “But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies are new every morning …For the Lord will not cast off forever, but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love for he does not willingly afflict or grieve the sons of men” (ref. Lamentations 3:21-22, 31-32). Jesus is the hope of the world because he is the only one who can truly reconcile us with God and with one another. He gives us his Holy Spirit both to purify us and restore us as a holy people of God. Through Christ we become living temples of the Holy Spirit (ref. 1 Corinthians 6:19).