1 Cor. 10:6-13; Lk. 19:41-47
Our Holy Father,
Pope Francis visited three countries in Latin America last week. While in Bolivia, he said, “Faith is a light
which does not blind. Politics blinds.” Faith enlightens, but agendas, ideologies,
blind us to the plan of God, the dignity of the human person. Pope Francis was addressing a hostile regime.
The Jerusalem of
our Lord’s day had lost its faith. Due
to the pharisaic Judiasm of the time, it was not able to recognize its Messiah
when He appeared. And it is ironic,
because Jerusalem had all the means necessary to recognize Him, the scriptures,
the prophets, the Temple, and the sacrifice which was the precursor of our
Lord’s own sacrifice. The scene in
today’s Gospel occurs the day after His triumphal entry into Jerusalem. He is on the Mount of Olives overlooking the
city. He knows what is coming: His rejection, His suffering and death, and
the destruction of the city at the hands of the Roman occupation. Our Lord wants all people to have
salvation. He sees the city, and He
The paradox of
the moment is expressed in terms of peace.
Our Lord says, “If only Jerusalem had known what would be to its
peace.” There are three kinds of peace,
two of which are not peace at all. There
is the peace which is complacency, those who are indifferent to good and bad,
right and wrong. Those who are numb are
not unsettled. But numbness is not
peace. There is the awful peace which
comes after destruction, when there is stillness, and silence, a stone not left
upon a stone. But the absence of
conflict is not peace. But then there is
the peace which our Lord brings, which knows that all things are under God’s
Providence, and even as we face the difficulties of life, that the victory has
been won, our Lord can never die again.
This is peace, the peace which comes from God, covenant peace.
for God, for one simple reason, that we were made for Him, and will not rest
until we rest in Him, as St. Augustine says.
And He is merciful. Immediately following,
He cleanses the temple. You recall that
St. Paul, speaking of sanctifying grace, the presence of the divine life
within, refers to us as temples. And so,
our Lord enters the temple, and He cleanses it, He forgives our sins, for
example, in the sacrament of Confession.
And He says, “My house is a house of prayer;” established within us, we
live in communion with Him. And this is
a wonderful thing, the Gospel says He taught in the temple daily; He then reveals
Himself to us.
The Pharisees asked,
“Show us a sign, and we will believe.”
They were blinded by disbelief.
First comes faith, and love, and then the Lord reveals Himself to
us. We see it in the resurrection. Who did He reveal Himself to, but those who
loved Him: the women at the tomb on
Easter Sunday, the Apostles, the disciples.
He did not reveal Himself to Pilate, or to Herod, or to Caiaphas,
although He could have. He reveals
Himself to those who love Him.
“Faith is a
light which does not blind.” Our Lord
lamented that Jerusalem did not recognize the time of its visitation. Everything is a grace. God always takes the first initiative. Even our love for Him is His love for
us. He comes to us, we encounter Him
daily. And in this supreme moment when
we take part in the Mass, our Lord’s own sacrifice, He comes, to dwell in us, by
sanctifying grace, in the temple of our lives, in Word and Sacrament.