Contemplating Jesus


Posted on by Lucinda M. Vardey

Jesus’ final entry into Jerusalem before his crucifixion was met with a mix of emotions. Many rejoiced and celebrated his arrival while others were threatened and fearful.  For all of them – and for the city – Jesus himself wept.  He wept we are told in Luke l9 for the inhabitants (present and future) who were unable to recognize the “way of peace” – the peace he embodied, the peace he taught, the peace he invited all to share and embrace.    He was about to undergo such extreme violence – which carried with it universal consequences for all time – and only he knew it.

Within a few days, while on his way to Calvary, he addressed some women who were weeping, mourning the tragedy of what they were witnessing. Like his tears for the city, he now reiterated the same message to “the daughters of Jerusalem.”

He told them not to weep for him but for themselves and their children. And he forecast a time when people will revoke what he prescribed in the Beatitudes.

Instead of the hope instilled in the comfort assured for those who mourn, barren women who have never borne offspring, whose breasts have not suckled, will be called blessed. (Luke 26-31). “For this is what is done to green wood, what will be done when the wood is dry?”  he continued.

What can we understand from these words spoken at the height of Jesus’ physical agony?   As in everything he said and did, we continue to see the relevance of his Truth in our own lives and times.  The genius of women’s contribution to society, the blessedness of bringing forth new life (children, creativity, communities, care and healing) combined so closely in relationship with the rhythms of nature and the earth, continue to be under threat.  Pope Francis in his encyclical Laudato Si makes reference to the lamenting mother of our environment – the cries of the earth – as not being separate from our humanity.

With the peace Jesus wept about as continually unrecognized, “the green wood” of new life becoming disposable or of little value, how shall we respond to Jesus’ final question when the barren in us and around us becomes the norm?

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