“Jerusalem, Jerusalem!”

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“Jerusalem, Jerusalem!” Jesus will further lament Jerusalem’s fate in Luke19:41-44; 21:20-24; 23:27-31.

The repetition of a name often signifies painful grief or great frustration: “My son Absalom! My son, my son Absalom! I wish I had died for you, Absalom, my son, my son!” (2 Samuel 18:33)—“Martha, Martha” (Luke 10:41)—“Simon, Simon” (Luke 22:31).

Here it is a cry of grief reflecting the broken heart of one who could save the beloved but is prevented by the beloved’s recalcitrance. It is Jesus’ grief, but it is also God’s grief resulting from a long and frustrating history with Jerusalem.

It is reminiscent of Jeremiah’s grief as he delivered God’s word of judgment against this same holy city. When Jesus finally arrives in Jerusalem, He will weep over it “because you didn’t know the time of your visitation”(19:41-44).

“Jerusalem, Jerusalem!” Note the irony! Jerusalem is the Holy City—the City of David—the prototype for the City of God. Jerusalem is the site of temple worship and the object of Jewish pilgrimage.

Nevertheless, Jesus calls it, “that kills the prophets, and stones those who are sent to her!” Perhaps the devil sees the power of worship and pilgrimage and has concentrated his forces to defeat them.

Thoughts on today’s scripture

  • Why did Jesus weep over Jerusalem? To love is to want the very best for the beloved and to feel the pain of the beloved. Empathy is to suffer with. Can I see this in my life?
  • If I am a parent can I see how this aspect of love is present in and through loving my children? I reflect on the gift of the Eucharist and the words ‘this is My body broken for you.’
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