In our Gospel passage, the Lord is in Jerusalem to undergo His cross and resurrection. From the Mount of Olives, He views the Holy City, the city which will reject and crucify Him. The Jerusalem of our Lord’s time had lost its way. It would find peace, but the awful peace which follows war and destruction with its fall in 70 AD. To the Pharisaism of the day which dominated the religion of Israel, the Lord would cleanse the temple, for His teaching and sacrifice. In this moment of tears, the Lord takes possession of Jerusalem for His salvific work. It is there that He will be crucified and rise; it is there that the Holy Ghost will descend on the Apostles and the Blessed Mother; it is from there that the mission goes out to all the world.
St. Paul tells us in the Epistle that the calamities of old were given to us in figure, that is, as an example, as a warning. God has endowed us with a supernatural soul, an intellect and will to know and to love Him, a conscience to guide us to all truth. We may have the peace and consolation of the Holy Ghost by welcoming the Savior and His teaching. On the other hand, we have seen in the not too distant history of the world that awful peace, which is not peace at all but complacency, which comes from having no conscience at all.
In his last epistle, Second Timothy, St. Paul, in prison, is handing over his work to his young assistant. He says to him, “Keep watch over yourself, and over your teaching.” In a similar episode in the Acts of the Apostles, he says, “Be careful of yourself.” We have a healthy sense of our frailty to know the truth and do the good. We do not always know how to love as we should. And, yet, at the same time, we have an immovable trust in God and in the sufficiency of His grace. As the Epistle says, God is faithful, He will not allow us to be tempted beyond that which we are able.
What assurance the Lord gives us, that, with docile hearts, we can know the truth and do the good. And not only assurance, but dignity, the dignity of our faculties enlightened by faith and strengthened by grace. And not only dignity, but peace, the peace that we have welcomed the Messiah, and all that He has revealed to us about God, and the plan, in His sacrifice and teaching, for our salvation.