November 23, 2023
by Larry Gillick, S.J.
Creighton University's Deglman Center for Ignatian Spirituality
click here for photo and information about the writer

Thursday of the Thirty-third Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 500

1 Maccabees 2:15-29
Psalms 50:1b-2, 5-6, 14-15
Luke 19:41-44

Praying Ordinary Time

For those in the U.S. celebrating Thanksgiving Day

Weekly Guide for Daily Prayer

Prayer in the days before Advent

Jerusalem, meaning “House of Peace”, and its holy temple, were destroyed by the Romans in the year seventy. This city has been violently occupied at various times since then by Muslems, Christians as well as by the people of Israel itself.

It is a biblical discussion concerning this passage from Luke’s Gospel. Are these verses, written after Jesus’ Resurrection, were verses of prediction about such a violence. There was a distruction of Jerusalmen more than five-hundred years before Jesus and so perhaps Luke was recalling an historical event and using it to be the cause of the tears of Jesus upon His arriving near the city. We can read these lines, as well, as a reflection Jesus was having about His eventual treatment there, Prophet as He was.

I am writing this while Israel and the more violent faction of the Muslem leadership seems to be playing out these verses for this very day upon which the United States is celebrating a national day of thanksgiving.

There are wars of all kinds going on within the estranged factions within our country. Jesus was aware of the unwelcoming the prophets who had a visitation within the walls of Jerusalem. They had been called by the love of God to speak of peace and justice among the religious and political forces contending within the sacred precincts of this holy city.  As Jesus wept tears of sadness, we can pray likewise over family, racial, political, ethnical, religious and sectional hurts of the past and present. We are praying with the tremendous sufferings among the innocent children, women and men of both warring factions. Perhaps Jesus is weeping over His world these very days.

Anybody calling us to change our minds is suspect and to be resisted and the Prophets were indeed.
I have been praying with my own personal resistence and even disquiet with most persons who are not conformed to my mind, heart, spirit and customs. I admit that I do want to turn those pages, switch off those podcasts, block out those who are inviting me to, what I call, inconvenient ideas or thoughts. I recently resisted friends trying to convince me that I need new clothing. I make friends with old clothes; they have a wonderful warming history with me. Change can seem to me an act of ingratitude. This was good for me ten years ago and it is good for me now. Clothing is easier to change and buy new things without violating my vow of poverty, though this is a bit of interior puzzling too. I love the old, the comfortable, the me of it all.

When I pray with such things I experience Jesus weeping grace for my freedom from my self-self.

Pope Francis has been inviting us to buy into his new clothes for the Catholic Church and there is much clinging to old, less uncomfortable, traditional and convenient ways. He must feel what Jesus felt as he, Francis, prays over his being a modern prophet who is trusting the grace-tears of Jesus.
It could be a more happy Thanksgiving in our country, world and hearts. We might pray these days with sadness and with hope as Jesus did. Happy Thanksgiving prayer.

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