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  • Writer's pictureFr. Scott Haynes

The Tears of Christ

Fr. Scott A. Haynes


All of the children in Sunday School were required to memorize a new set of Bible verses each week. This was a great idea. But it was hard for one boy whose mind was more set on kickball and softball than on the Book of Leviticus or Exodus. One week the teacher was merciful and called on this boy to quote the shortest verse in the Bible. At least he knew that. It is John 11:35. And it is only two words,

“Jesus wept.”

What humility we see in Christ as our Saviour weeps, as the Son of God sheds tears. We know that whoever weeps must be either in physical or mental anguish. At that time Jesus was not yet in bodily pain and yet here the Lord cries. What depth of torment He must have felt in His heart and Soul, if He, the bravest of all, shed the tears of the soul.


Why is Jesus weeping? This question gets right to the heart of the matter. Our Savior is lamenting over Jerusalem, the holy city He loved so tenderly. He is weeping over her inhabitants, over His own compatriots because they cannot foresee the judgment that is to overtake them, the punishment which His divine justice must deliver. Scripture records our Lord crying out:

“Jerusalem, Jerusalem…how often have I been ready to gather thy children together, as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings; and thou didst refuse it! I your God and your King wished it, but you would have none of Me…”


This is the reason for the tears of God—tears for the acts of disobedience, for the many injustices, and for man’s willful refusal of Him and the resulting evils. As Christ sees the evils man will commit, the Lord laments over Jerusalem, over the people of God who rebel against His Love.  


If Christ wept over the holy city of Jerusalem, over those Jews who were the chosen people of God, for their stubborness and hardness of heart. What of us, we who are the inhabitants of the new Jerusalem, made citizens of the kingdom of God by virtue of our baptism! If the people of Jerusalem did not obey the commandments, what of us, who profess to be devotees of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, we who receive the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ in the Eucharist? What of the sacred obligations of conscience from which no one can release us and which we must fulfil even at the price of death itself? 


Because of His love for us God has engraved His holy commandments in our hearts and has made them manifest to us. God, Our Father, wishes by these precepts to gather us, His children, about Him as a hen shelters her brood under her wings. If we are obedient to His commands, then Our Savior will protect and preserve us against the destruction with which the world, the flesh and the devil threaten us, just as the chicks beneath the wings of the mother hen.


But I must ask the question, “Does history again repeat itself here?” Where in our nation is there obedience to the precepts and commandments of God? And if any particular nation ever had its favorite commandments to violate, could not we observe that America leads the way in the violation of the 5th and 6th commandments? What other nation can compare to us in the murder of infants in their mother’s wombs? What other nation has so embraced the culture of death, the scourge of pornography, adultery and pre-marital sex which so offend the Sacred Heart of our Savior?


And rather than crawl back to confessional on our hands and knees, American Catholics desecrate the Lord’s Day, either by skipping Mass for a soccer game or to go shopping, or worse yet, they come and receive the Holy Eucharist in a state of mortal sin, a sacrilege, and immediately rush toward the parking lot, following the example of their patron, Judas Iscariot, who was the first man to ever leave Mass early. And Christ, who was once sold for 30 silver pieces, is again sold today by other Judases as consecrated Hosts are auctioned on Ebay online.


Scripture records, “And as He drew near, and caught sight of the city, He wept over it, and said: ‘Ah, if thou too couldst understand, above all in this day that is granted thee, the ways that can bring thee peace! As it is, they are hidden from thy sight. The days will come upon thee when thy enemies will fence thee round about, and encircle thee, and press thee hard on every side, and bring down in ruin both thee and thy children that are in thee, not leaving one stone of thee upon another; and all because thou didst not recognize the time of My visiting thee.’”


Jesus gazed upon the walls and towers of the city of Jerusalem with His human eye, but with His Divine Wisdom He saw far beyond and into the inmost heart of the city and its inhabitants. He saw its wicked obstinacy—terrible, sinful and cruel. Man had set his will against God’s will. That is the song of every sinner in hell: “I did it MY way.” God is merciful and gives us time for repentance, but God is not to be mocked. His Divine Justice is sure! If we refuse conversion, we will meet God’s wrath.


Dear company of the Sacred Heart, did the Son of God in His all-knowing wisdom see only Jerusalem and its people? Did He weep only on their behalf? Was Jerusalem alone in rejecting His divine truth? Were the Jews the only people to throw off the laws of God and plunge headlong to ruin? Did not Jesus, Who sees everything, behold us too? Has He not also wept for us?

 

For two thousand years He has instructed us and our forbears in the Faith in the love of His most tender Heart. He has led us by His Gospel law of love. He has nourished us with His grace through the Sacraments. He has gathered us to Him as the hen does her brood beneath its wings. Has the all-knowing Son of God seen that in our own time He would have to pronounce on us that same dread sentence? “Not leaving one stone of thee upon another; and all because thou didst not recognize the time of My visiting thee.” That would indeed be a terrible sentence.


My dearly beloved, I trust that it is not too late. It is time that we realized today what alone can bring us peace, what alone can save us and avert the divine wrath. We must openly, and without reserve, admit our Catholicism. We must be true devotees of the Sacred Heart. We must show by our actions that we will live our lives by obeying God’s commandments. Our motto must be: “Death rather than sin.” By pious prayer and penance, we can bring down upon us all His grace and forgiveness.


But those who persist in inciting the anger of God, who revile the Faith of our Fathers, who hate His commandments, who attack the sanctity of innocent human life, we shun and we rebuke absolutely so as to remain undefiled by their blasphemous way of life, which would lay us open to that just punishment which God must and will inflict upon all those who, like the thankless Jerusalem, set their hearts hard against our good and loving God.


Let us pray that God grant to us sinners now, before it is too late, a true conversion of heart. Let us call upon the Sacred Heart of Jesus, oppressed even unto tears by the blindness and sins of men, to help us by His grace to seek always what is pleasing to Him and reject what is displeasing, so that we may dwell in His Love and find rest in our souls. And let our cry ever be…

“May the Heart of Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament be praised adored and loved with grateful affection at every moment in all the tabernacles of the world, unto the end of time! Amen.”

 

 

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