St Luke 19:41-47

41 Et ut appropinquavit, videns civitatem flevit super illam, dicens: 42 Quia si cognovisses et tu, et quidem in hac die tua, quæ ad pacem tibi: nunc autem abscondita sunt ab oculis tuis. 43 Quia venient dies in te: et circumdabunt te inimici tui vallo, et circumdabunt te: et coangustabunt te undique: 44 et ad terram prosternent te, et filios tuos, qui in te sunt, et non relinquent in te lapidem super lapidem: eo quod non cognoveris tempus visitationis tuæ. 45 Et ingressus in templum, cœpit ejicere vendentes in illo, et ementes, 46 dicens illis: Scriptum est: Quia domus mea domus orationis est: vos autem fecistis illam speluncam latronum. 47 Et erat docens quotidie in templo. Principes autem sacerdotum, et scribæ, et princeps plebis quærebant illum perdere: 48 et non inveniebant quid facerent illi. Omnis enim populus suspensus erat, audiens illum.

[41] And when he drew near, seeing the city, he wept over it, saying: [42] If thou also hadst known, and that in this thy day, the things that are to thy peace; but now they are hidden from thy eyes. [43] For the days shall come upon thee, and thy enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and straiten thee on every side, [44] And beat thee flat to the ground, and thy children who are in thee: and they shall not leave in thee a stone upon a stone: because thou hast not known the time of thy visitation. [45] And entering into the temple, he began to cast out them that sold therein, and them that bought.[46] Saying to them: It is written: My house is the house of prayer. But you have made it a den of thieves. [47] And he was teaching daily in the temple. And the chief priests and the scribes and the rulers of the people sought to destroy him: [48] And they found not what to do to him: for all the people were very attentive to hear him.

Commentary (de Lapide)

Ver. 41.—And when He, &c. To show the bowels of His love to it. How dear to Him was the salvation of the Jews, for to this had He been sent by the Father as the Messiah and Saviour. He wept therefore among all the joys of His triumph, and amidst the happy declamations of those who congratulated Him and shouted Hosanna, that He might temper their joy, by a mixture as it were of gall. He wept as well over the blindness, obduracy, and ingratitude of the people of Jerusalem, because they would not receive Him as their Messiah and Saviour, as for the vengeance of God towards them and the destruction of their nation by Titus; and because He saw His own labours and, sufferings for them frustrated and rendered of no effect. These three causes wrung tears from Christ, from the vehemence of His grief. So S. Cyril, Bede, Theophylact and others. In trope, Origen says, “Christ fulfilled all the beatitudes in His own Person. He said, ‘Blessed are they that mourn,’ and He therefore wept.”

Ver. 42.—If thou hadst known. “As I know,” says S. Gregory (hom. 39), Bede and others. Because I am come to thee as thy Messiah, for thy salvation, to save thee, and bring thee everlasting blessing, according to the words of Zech. ix. If thou hadst known what is for thy good, salvation, and happiness, namely, penitence and faith in Me, which I have taught thee these three years past, thou wouldst weep, as I do, for thy past blindness and obstinacy. Euthymius supplies, “Thou wouldst in no wise perish.” Others say, “Thou wouldst bear thyself otherwise; listen to Me, and believe in Me.” The Syriac has, “If thou hadst known the things that are for thy peace and salvation in this thy day.” The Arabic. “If thou hadst known, even thou, and in this thy day, how much peace there was for thee in it.” Peace, in Hebrew, means prosperity, safety, happiness, every good, both of body and soul.

It is an aposopiopesis, showing the profound passion of grief and indignation in Christ, for He upbraids the ungrateful city with its unbelief, obstinacy, and ingratitude. This feeling in Christ was so strong that it choked His voice, and compelled Him to be silent, as by aposopiopesis. “For those who weep,” says Euthymius, “break off their words abruptly, from the strength of their feelings.” There is again great passion “pathos,” in the words; “Even thou, 0 daughter of Zion, by Me so beloved, so honoured, so enriched: for thee have I come from heaven to earth, for thee was I born at Bethlehem, for thee have I lived thirty-four years in continued labour, suffering, poverty. For three years have I taught and preached in thy towns and villages; I have healed thy lepers, thy sick, thy possessed; I have restored thy dead to life. Thou, therefore, daughter of Jerusalem, why dost thou not return the love of one who so loves thee, but scornest and destroyest Him as an enemy? It will come, it will come shortly, that great day of the Lord, in which thou will too late confess thy unbelief and lament thy blindness. This is thy day, in which thou vainly exultest in thy wealth, thy luxury, thy pomps. But My day shall come, yea, the day of the Lord, in which He will most grievously punish thee, and utterly root thee out, and in which thou shalt pour forth the inconsolable and never ceasing tears of most bitter anguish.” Similar is the passion of Christ to the traitor Judas. Ps. v. 13.

In trope, S. Gregory in his 39th Homily says, “The perverse soul, which delights in the passing day, here meets its day. The soul, that is, to which present things are peace, because, while it takes pleasure in temporal prosperity: while it is elevated by honour while it is dissolved in the pleasures of sense, while it is terrified by no thoughts of a punishment to come, it has peace in its day, although in one to come it will meet with heavy condemnation. For it will be afflicted when the righteous rejoice, and all that was lately for its peace will be turned into the bitterness of contention. For it will begin to be at strife with itself, and to question itself, as to why it had not feared the condemnation to come, and had shut the eyes of its soul to the prospect of the evils to come.

But now they are hid from Divine eyes. Because (de Industria) thou wouldst not know, says Titus. And Eusebius, in the Catena, “Christ makes known His coming for the peace of the world, and when they would not receive that peace, it was hidden from them.” The Incarnation of Christ, His preaching, His passion, His resurrection, were hidden from the Jews. Equally so their own perfidy, blindness, ingratitude, and therefore their punishment and destruction by Titus. “For,” says S. Gregory, “if we saw the evils that are impending, we should not rejoice in present prosperity.” Again, in figure, “The perverse soul, while it loses itself in the enjoyments of the present life, what does it but walk with closed eyes into the fire?” Hence it is well written, In the day of good things be not unmindful of the evil. And S. Paul, “Let those that rejoice be as those that rejoice not.” For if there is any joy in the present time, it should be so felt, as that the bitterness of the future judgment should never be absent from the thoughts, for while the reverent mind is pierced by fear of the final punishment, in proportion to its present rejoicing will the wrath hereafter be tempered.

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