In his homily on Thursday Pope Francis said that the Gospel scene in which Jesus wept for Jerusalem’s closed heart is repeated today with those in the Church who are afraid to let him work in their lives. “Jerusalem was afraid of this: of being saved by the surprises of the Lord. The (people) were afraid of the Lord, their Bridegroom, their Beloved. And so Jesus wept,” the Pope told those present in the Vatican’s Saint Martha guesthouse on Nov. 20. In the Gospel “Jesus weeps” over Jerusalem in the same way that as He “weeps over His Church, over us today,” he said. The Roman Pontiff centered his reflections on the day’s Gospel reading from Luke Chapter 19, in which Jesus travels close to Jerusalem and weeps, saying “If this day you only knew what makes for peace.” In this passage Jesus weeps for the holy city because its people didn’t recognize the one who brings true peace because their hearts were closed inside their own comfort zones, the Pope observed. “The people of Jerusalem were content with their way of life and did not need the Lord: they failed to realize that they needed salvation. This is why they had closed their heart before the Lord,” he explained. Pope Francis noted that the people of Jerusalem didn’t make any time to open the doors of their hearts because they were too busy and “self-satisfied,” and didn’t want anything to interfere with comfortable lives they were living. They didn’t recognize what Jesus was talking about in the Gospel when he said that “if you only knew, on this day, what brings you peace. You did not recognize the time of your visitation,” the Pope explained. He continued, saying that Jerusalem’s citizens were unable recognize this peace because of their fear of being visited by the Lord, and of the gratuity that his visit would bring. “The city felt safe in the knowledge of what it could handle. We all feel safe in the things that we can handle ... But the visit of the Lord, its surprises, those we cannot handle.” Pope Francis said that the people of Jerusalem were also afraid of “being saved by the surprises” of the Lord, their bridegroom. This also made Jesus weep, he observed, because when the Lord comes he always brings joy and leads us to conversion. “We all fear happiness — that joy that the Lord brings, because we cannot control it. We are afraid of conversion because conversion means allowing the Lord to lead us,” the Bishop of Rome said. He reiterated how Jerusalem had been content and happy with how things were going because its temple worked, the priests made their sacrifices, people were coming on pilgrimages and the teachers and scholars had everything perfectly arranged. “Everything was clear! All the commandments were clear...And with all of this Jerusalem had closed the door,” the Pope noted, saying that the cross, which was the price of the people’s refusal to listen to him, shows us the love of Jesus that still leads him to “weep — often — for His Church.” Pope Francis encouraged the Christians of today who know the faith, go to Mass and are even pastors of the Church, to ask themselves if they have become content with themselves and their lives. “Are we content with ourselves? Because we have organized everything and do not need new visits from the Lord?” he asked, saying that the Lord continues to knock on the door of each person, including the Church and its pastors. Many times, he lamented, “the door of our hearts, of the heart of the Church, of her pastors will not open: and the Lord weeps, even today.” He concluded by encouraging people to examine their consciences, and asked those present to reflect on themselves as they are before God in that moment.
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