Jesus weeps over Jerusalem in today’s Gospel, which is toward the end of Luke 19, and following Jesus’ entry into the city. Jesus laments that Jerusalem cannot see that salvation has drawn near. All the prophets and Scripture have pointed to this time and moment when the Messiah arrives in the city, greeted with crowds singing “Hosanna” and strewing the path with palms for the teacher who is seated on a donkey.
Jerusalem’s failure to see is in contrast to Zacchaeus, the wealthy tax collector, whose story opens Chapter 19 in Luke. Zacchaeus is short of stature, and he cannot see Jesus, so he climbs a sycamore tree. Zacchaeus does what is necessary to see that salvation has come. And, indeed, Jesus affirms him with the words, “Today salvation has come to your house.”
Judgment comes to Jerusalem, which should see but does not; salvation comes to Zacchaeus, who cannot see but does. We have choices.
Do we have a deep-down desire to see with eyes of faith like Zacchaeus, who longs for salvation and the coming of the Lord? If so, salvation comes. Or, have we shut out our deep desires and closed our eyes to the coming of the Lord? If so, judgment awaits.
—Ted Munz, S.J., Chicago-Detroit Province Jesuits