Thursday, 33 ot.

Gospel 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 an odd concept to think that war is the path to peace, but many times it is. Of course war does not always have to mean fighting on a battlefield, it does not always require the shooting of bullets, or the bombing of buildings, or the destruction of property, or the loss of life. It simply can mean the violent resolution of a conflict. That conflict can involve bloodshed, or it can be a resolution between competing philosophies, cultures, or ideologies. The courtroom can be viewed as a warzone nearly the same as a battlefield. The same can be said of the conflict between good and evil.
Jesus frequently talks about entry into the Kingdom of God, and entry into that Kingdom requires the resolution of a conflict. It requires that defeat of Satan and victory over sin. The cry of Jesus is his concern that the people of Jerusalem, and that is us, don’t recognize that battle and sink into a complacency. That complacency frequently is surrendering to sin.

Sin, as simply disobedience to God. It is the comfort of living in exile by simply losing sight of the glory of Eden. The thing though, is that battle between good and evil, heaven and hell, goes on even if we are not wise participants in it. The more sin is entrenched, the more violent the battle between that good and evil; but the good will win at all costs. Again, ironically those spiritual battles so often do merge into battles on the battlefield. For that reason alone that gospel passage is simply not poetry, it is the violence of the crucifixion and the joy of Easter. It is the violence of the battlefield, and the exuberance when that battle ends with a lasting peace. That violence made worse, simply because we refuse to open our eyes, and that is not a commentary on ancient history but also of contemporary society.

Sides are being drawn, all’s one has to do is read a newspaper, or turn on a television, or listen to a politician. I wonder in this battle of the twenty first century, which side is gaining victory? Are the advances we so often celebrate an advance towards that Kingdom Jesus preaches, or are the victory’s we celebrate an advance in the opposite direction? Are we steadily marching back towards that Garden of Eden, or retreating further from it? Many of the advances since the 1960’s have brought about the dawn of a new age, but as Jesus looks at this present Jerusalem does He weep again? Ignorance or complacency simply lets that sin get entrenched, and makes that battle that more violent, that much longer, and the wounds that much deeper. That battle with sin began with our exit from Eden, do we realize that battle continues today?

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