When Jesus was making his triumphal entry into Jerusalem, Luke reports that Jesus wept as he approached the city, saying, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace – but now it is hidden from your eyes.” (Luke19:42) Jesus goes on to describe how their enemies will kill them and destroy the temple, “because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.” (vs. 44)
We have here a scene of contrasts. In the midst of all the adulation for Jesus, he is weeping over the city, for the people have failed to recognize that God has visited them in the flesh.
After all of the time he spent with them, after all of the miracles, after all the teaching, they still do not recognize that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is present to them in the person of Jesus. They do not accept him as the Messiah they have waited for so long, and the consequences are dire.
How often do we lose our peace because we forget that God in the person of Jesus and the Holy Spirit is in us? Jesus tells us: he is with us always (Mt. 28:20); he wants us to come to him when we are weary or burdened (Mt. 11:28); he and the Father want to make their home in us (John 14:23); and apart from him we can do nothing (John 15:5).
When I get angry with a store clerk or phone solicitor, I forget that the Father and Jesus reside in me, and I lose my peace. When I am indifferent to a homeless person asking for money at a stoplight, I forget that the Jesus in me wants to show him mercy. When I fail to stop and listen to a family member or friend who wants to talk or share a problem, I am putting shackles on God’s mercy and love that are waiting to be manifested through me.
When I refuse to embrace the cross in daily sacrifices, whether small and large, Jesus has some strong words – he says that anyone who does not take his cross and follow him “is not worthy of him.” (Mt. 10:38)
Yet, God never stops bidding us to seek him. He has put in us a hunger for him whether we realize it or not. It is a part of our human DNA. God weeps when we do not recognize his presence in our lives.
Do we know what brings us peace? It is the presence of God dwelling in us through Jesus and the Holy Spirit, being poured out on the people and circumstances of our lives.