Nov. 19, 2015 Thursday: 33rd Week in Ordinary Time
Yes, I can say, “I was there.” I had the privilege of being in the place marked Dominus Flevit, a word in Latin which means, “On this place the Lord wept.” I think, it was on a slope in Mount Hebron, overlooking the City of Jerusalem.
Bible scholars tell us that Jesus wept only two times in the Bible: the first was on the occasion when He saw the future destruction of the City of Jerusalem; the second, when Lazarus, the brother of Mary and Martha, died.
We can say that Jesus was not weak in the face of sufferings. He did not shed a tear when they scourged Him mercilessly; he did not weep when carrying the heavy cross, nor did he emotionally give way when He was hanging on the cross.
But with others, Jesus was emotionally demonstrative. He sympathized with people He loved, people He cared for but did not respond to His call, or people who did not give value to the good God had done for them. Such was the case when Jesus wept, while He was contemplating over Jerusalem, her coldness to God’s care and her impeding destruction. This weeping of Jesus would reveal to us that He was truly human, but he was also God be He rose from the dead by His own power (John 10:17-18).
Empathy, not just sympathy, is one of the qualities of a genuine Christian; it is not just a Feeling for others but putting oneself in the place of another. St. Paul, the great missionary apostle, mentions this along with other essential qualities in one of his letters: “Bless those who persecute; bless and do not wish evil on anyone. Rejoice with those who are joyful; and weep with those who weep. Live in peace with one another. Do not dream of extraordinary thing; be humble and do not hold yourselves wise,” (Rom 12:14-16).
St. Thomas Aquinas, one of the wisest theologians the Catholic Church ever had, mentions about the psychological meaning of weeping or crying in one of his writings, Summa Thologica. First, he posed the question, “What would you advice a woman who is about to cry?” his answer: “You should let her cry, for nothing gives her the greatest pleasure at the moment than to cry.”
-Fr. Erasio Flores, SVD Bible Diary 2009