November 17, 2016 (Thursday)

St. Elizabeth of Hungary, religious

Rv 5:1-10 • Ps 149

Lk 19:41-44




41As Jesus drew near Jerusalem, he saw the city and wept over it, 42saying, “If this day you only knew what makes for peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes. 43For 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. 44They 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.”


In the Old Testament, visitation has two meanings. When God visits his people, God either announces good news or gives judgment. God visits Abraham to announce the birth of their long-awaited offspring. God visits Sodom and Gomorrah to punish the people for their sins.

The Gospel takes the second meaning. Jesus weeps (Dominus flevit) over the city of Jerusalem because the inhabitants have not recognized the time of their visitation. They ignore God’s presence in the person of Jesus. Now they will be punished for this through their enemies who will inflict much damage upon them.

At the time Luke’s gospel was written, circa AD 85, Jesus’ prediction has already happened. The Temple of Jerusalem had been destroyed by the Romans who were notorious for their brutality even before the time of Christ. Under the supervision of Titus, commissioned by his father Vespasian who had just become the Emperor, the Romans destroyed the Temple in the spring of AD 70, during a Passover feast. Many pilgrims were affected. Luke is just recounting the story of its destruction that did not spare even children.

Jesus comes in word and sacrament. He visits us through needy people and reveals himself through the signs of the times. We must not lose the opportunity to welcome him and respond accordingly, otherwise judgment will be upon us.

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