November 17, 2011 - Memorial of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary, religious

Today's Readings

Jesus today prophesies the destruction of Jerusalem. It happened, exactly as he described, about forty years later. The prophecy is so accurate that some say that Luke invented it after seeing the destruction of Jerusalem. Some people will believe any nonsense rather than acknowledge the power of God.

Jesus gives more than a prophecy here. He also gives a reason: because the city failed to recognize the time of its visitation. It is not politic to say that Jerusalem was destroyed because they killed Jesus, and the idea is tied up with anti-Jewish attitudes, but we cannot reject the word of the Lord. Jerusalem was destroyed because they failed to recognize the time of their visitation. The destruction of Jerusalem was divine justice.

As Mattathias asks in our first reading today, “Will it benefit us to forsake the law and right-living?” The king may give them gold and high positions, but who wants gold and high positions if they cannot live the way they should? Nothing is as valuable as the freedom to serve God. Any city that chooses money or pleasure or political safety over the grace of God has chosen poorly. It is only appropriate that such a city should be destroyed.

Yet, though Jerusalem was destroyed by divine justice, this is not an anti-Jewish idea. The example of Jerusalem threatens all of us. Every city and every nation that fails to recognize the Lord is in danger of destruction. It does not come immediately, as imagined by a cartoonish, childish understanding of divine justice. Jerusalem was not destroyed for forty more years. The destruction comes at the appropriate moment.

Our country has been killing innocent children by the millions for 40 years now. We have chosen, as a society, convenience and selfishness over justice and love. Who can doubt that we are in danger of destruction? We pray for God to bless America, and we consider our country a shining beacon of freedom and safety in a dangerous world, and God has blessed America and continues to bless her, but how much longer will he put up with this injustice? Empires have risen and fallen before. God does not need America; America needs God.

So we pray for our country, our motherland. We pray for God to save her from the destruction due to her in justice, for the blood of 55 million babies killed even before they were born cries out to God for vengeance. We pray for God to remove this injustice in our midst, we work to remove this injustice in our midst, and we offer the sacrifice of fasts and prayer in reparation for injustices that have been committed.