Deacon Prodencio Bognay reads from the Gospel of Luke (19: 41-44) in which Jesus weeps over Jerusalem because it did not understand the message of peace he brought.
While the meaning of the word ‘Jerusalem’ in Hebrew is ‘city of peace’, Jesus found it ironic that the people in Jerusalem during this time didn’t actually have peace. They were not at peace at all. Not only was their city ruled by the Romans, but also their city was on its way to its destruction due to their own actions.
Jerusalem has always been significant to the Jews because it had a temple, which stood as the great symbol of their faith. Unfortunately, Jesus recognised that in their search for peace, the people during this time were, instead, on their way to their own destruction. It is no surprise then that Jesus shed tears over the beloved city and his people. Prodencio notes that, just like the Jews during the time of Jesus, we have the tendency to think we can have peace when we defeat all our enemies. Up to this point in time, many of us still believe that having powerful weapons to subdue our perceived enemies would assure us of peace.
Many of us still search for peace by eradicating those who oppose us. Many of us still believe peace comes when we win a war. The peace announced by Jesus and many other spiritual leaders, like Buddha, is however, a peace beyond whatever is going on in this world. While it is true that we can have a sense of peace when we do not have enemies or when there is no violence around us, it remains true also that we can always have that sense of peace regardless of the circumstances around us when we develop the art of generating peace from within ourselves.
We can be subjected any form of sickness and deformities; we can encounter tough and painful situations; but amidst all of these human limitations we can still find peace, if only we develop the art of generating peace from within ourselves.
In closing, Prodencio invites us to pray that whatever circumstances we are in, may we learn to find peace that God is offering us… the peace that each of one of us can offer to this world.