Thursday of the Thirty-third Week in Ordinary Time [I]

Reading I Maccabees 2:15-29
Gospel Luke 19:41-44

"If this day you only knew what makes for peace…."

As the Church year draws to an end, Jesus in the weekday Gospel passages is drawing near to His own end in Jerusalem. There is something a little anachronistic about this. After all, it’s during Lent that we Christians liturgically observe Jesus drawing closer to His end, an end which culminates in the liturgies of the Sacred Triduum.

However, the end of the Church year—as it focuses on the end of human history itself—helps us realize that Jesus’ end is meant to be our end. Further, the Risen and Ascended Lord Jesus will judge each of us at the end of time. So today’s Gospel passage helps us orient our lives to our own end.

This passage is quite melancholy, not only because of Jesus’ tears, but also because of His words. “If this day you only knew what makes for peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes.” This sentence alone would offer many hours of meditation to one willing to ponder it. But as Jesus continues to speak, He directs our attention more specifically towards Himself. That this peace He speaks of is Jesus Himself becomes clear when He notes that the immanent destruction of Jerusalem is due to it not recognizing “the time of [its] visitation.” Jesus visited God’s People that they might have eternal life, and they put the author of life to death outside Jerusalem. Each of us shares in this rejection of Jesus by his own sins.