Spiritual Reflections by Fr Roderick Salazar Jr SVD (Philippines)
It is such an arresting image of Your intimate love
for Jerusalem, dear Jesus, that I see in the Gospel
according to Luke, 13:34 ff.
You are addressing Jerusalem, capital city of Israel,
with words dripping with sadness at its utter lack of
appreciation for the message that You bring, the
salvation that You are.
You truly are observant of things around You.
Once, frustrated at the people’s inconsistent reception
of things John the Baptist preached about and what
You Yourself were offering, You compared their reaction
to children You were seeing in the marketplace playing
make-believe weddings and funerals, complaining that
other playmates were not acting jolly or sad when they
were supposed to be expressing one or the other emotion.
(Matthew 11:16-19 Luke 7:31-35)
Did you play that game as a boy in Nazareth?
With Mary and Joseph letting You behave as all boys do?
Here, as a grown-up, now doing Your mission to preach
the Kingdom of God, You remember another scene – where
and when did You see it last ? – a hen gathering her brood
under her wings. Cluck cluck cluck You must have the sound
and the image before you, and the yellow chicks tweet tweeting
in obedience. Then You say, I have YEARNED for you…
like that hen…”
Oh, what a word: YEARNED. Deep deep longing.
From the inmost part of self. You YEARNED…
And Your sad observation: “But you, Jerusalem, unlike
the obedient chicks, YOU DO NOT COME TO ME,
YOU ARE UNWILLING TO LISTEN TO ME.”
I feel Your sadness, Your disappointment, dear Jesus.
Six chapters later, in Luke 19:41 ff., You enter Jerusalem again,
and saddened once more by Israel’s lack of recognition, appreciation, and acceptance of Your visitation
You actually weep.
You actually shed tears?
But YOU ARE GOD!!!??
Ah, yes, You had become human. You have eyes.
You have tear ducts. You have a heart. You weep.
How long, it is not said.
How big the tear drops, we do not know.
But You wept, dear Jesus, You wept.
Did Your apostles see you weep? Did You allow them to see
that intimately loving part of Your self? Did they see Your tears?
I suppose You did not hide Your tears.
After all, You did not hide Your love.
Whatever Your Apostles saw or felt or said then, I let go.
What I now say, seeing You in this most intimate loving moment
is that You really did love Israel that much then,
and I know still now.
I also know and am confident that You love me, too.
I pray that I do not make You weep by my stubbornness, my sins,
my failure to recognize Your coming in the many and different
moments of my daily life, in my refusal to come to You.
Please help me always to be alert to Your visitation in my life
through the various persons and events that come my way.
May I love and serve You by loving and serving my sisters and
brothers wherever they are in whatever form or shape they come.
I commend to You, Lord,
the many who weep now for various reasons.
Some are sick and suffering, some are hungry, some are lonely,
Some have heartaches because of loves betrayed or unrequited.
Some have lost wives or husbands, brothers or sisters, or parents.
Many have lost their jobs, many see no bright future.
Typhoons come one after another. And killings. And robberies.
And this virus. Oh, Lord, we weep. We cry. Please help us, Lord.
You who also wept, You know what it feels. You understand.
In the depths of our pains, our sorrows, our tears,
as often and as much as in the heights of our happiness and joy,
Please help us to YEARN for You as You did for Jerusalem.
Please teach our souls like the Psalmist to yearn for You,
to pant for You, like a deer that pants for water.
For as St. Augustine has said, “we are made for You.
And our hearts are restless until they rest in You,”
You who knew how to weep, please help me feel with You.
Teach me to love. Teach me to weep when I have to,
wherever and whenever and with whomever I need to.
Place me under the constant protection of Your wings.
May Your Light pierce my tears to make a rainbow in my life.