Thursday, November 21, 2013

“Love is not patronizing and charity isn't about pity, it is about love. “

A religious man is a person who holds God and man in one thought at one time, at all times, who suffers harm done to others, whose greatest passion is compassion, whose greatest strength is love and defiance of despair.” Abraham J. Heschel (Jewish theologian and philosopher, 1907-1972)

Gospel Text: (LK 19:41-44)
As Jesus drew near Jerusalem,
he saw the city and wept over it, saying,
“If this day you only knew what makes for peace–
but now it is hidden from your eyes.
For 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.
They 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.”

It is quite powerful to imagine Jesus weeping over Jerusalem, and then to imagine Jesus weeping over our world today. I want to ask him, "Lord, tell us, what is hidden from our eyes? What is it we are missing?"

Then, I remember when Pope Francis went to the island of Lampedusa, the Italian refugee colony where a boat of refugees had sunk and many refugees lost their lives. He asked us if we had forgotten how to grieve. It is in this memory that I realized that Jesus was grieving because of his great love and compassion for those who were going to go through terrible suffering. At Lampedusa, Pope Francis asked us if, in our world today, anyone feels "responsible" for what happened there. He said these powerful words:

"The culture of well-being, that makes us think of ourselves, that makes us insensitive to the cries of others, that makes us live in soap bubbles, that are beautiful but are nothing, are illusions of futility, of the transient, that brings indifference to others, that brings even the globalization of indifference. In this world of globalization we have fallen into a globalization of indifference. We are accustomed to the suffering of others, it doesn't concern us, it's none of our business.

"We are a society that has forgotten the experience of weeping, of 'suffering with:' the globalization of indifference has taken from us the ability to weep!"

Though you face opposition now, though you are tempted to abandon the truths you believe in, you can still remain faithful. Yes, it’s hard some days. But don’t give in. Talk to the Lord. Ask for his help and encouragement. Believe that in Christ you have an advocate who sits at the right hand of the Father and intercedes for you. You have a redeemer who has sent his Spirit to empower you and to give you the wisdom and self-control, the joy and peace necessary to carry on, faithful, to the end.

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