Plenty of Tears

Strength in Tears

In life, there are a lot of things which can make us to shed things. These things can be positive or negative in nature. Personally, a good movie can make me cry. Some lovely songs can also move me to shed tears. Some people cannot withhold their tears on receiving some acts of charity and show of love from others. Good news about your neighbor can equally bring tears to your eyes. Almost all of us shed tears at the loss of a loved one and when faced with certain bodily pains and physical losses. One can also shed tears on realizing one’s sins or great mistakes. Tears do not always signify weakness. There is strength in tears.

The Tears of Jesus

Jesus, though being God, shed tears at some points of his earthly life. He wept at the tomb of his friend Lazarus. In today’s Gospel, we see Jesus weep over the city of Jerusalem. The tears of Jesus in this episode have a profound significance. They, surely, are not tears of joy or gratitude. And we can ask what the source of Christ’s tears is. Looking out over the city of Jerusalem, he saw lack of knowledge. “If this day you only knew what makes for peace….” But unfortunately, Jerusalem did not understand. The city missed the great opportunity of recognizing the time of divine visitation. Before the time of Jesus, many prophets had announced the coming of the Messiah. The inhabitants of Jerusalem had been told. But they were unmoved and indifferent. The tears of Jesus were the tears of compassion. They were also prophetic tears, for Jesus looked into the future and saw what Jerusalem, and indeed our world, would be turned into.

The Gift of Tears

Even today, Jesus continues to weep over Jerusalem. He continues to shed tears over our own cities for the indifference and lack of understanding of spiritual things we have soaked ourselves in. Let us weep along with Jesus for our own resistance towards his visitation. “I stand at the door of your heart knocking; if anyone….” How many times have I shut God out of my heart? I need to weep for that. Pope Francis would urge Christians to pray for the “gift of tears.” Tears are a gift of grace from God. They signify an open and softened heart. Crying can be a spiritual exercise. Sometimes we are consumed in our own personal interests, attitudes, comfort, that we miss some moments of grace offered to us by God which could have radically changed our lives. Submerged in our little world, we may tend to be closed up and indifferent against the cries and pains of others and as such fail to see the moment of Christ’s visit who knocks at the doors of our heart. Let us shed tears for those moments.

Let us pray for the grace to weep for our own sins and failings, and to be able to weep for the sins of others. Jesus wept for Jerusalem. He weeps for our world today. Let us weep with him and change our ways of living. Only then will the tears of Jesus accomplish their salvific effect in our lives and in our world.

[Readings: 1 Mc 2:15-29; Lk 19:41-44]

Fr. John Bosco Obiako

Fr. JohnBosco Obiako is a priest of the Catholic Diocese of Orlu, Nigeria. He is a doctoral student of Philosophy at the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome - Italy, with a special interest in Philosophy and Ethics of technology. He also provides spiritual and pastoral services as Chaplain to African Anglophone Catholic Community in the Diocese of Prato, Italy. Email contact: OBIAKOJOHNBOSCO@GMAIL.COM

4 Comments

  1. Radhika Sharda on November 18, 2021 at 9:36 am

    I loved this reflection, thank you Father! I have been thinking lately about this very idea, the grace of tears. We may all pray for an “open and softened heart.” God bless.

    • JOHNBOSCO OBIAKO on November 19, 2021 at 8:24 am

      God bless you Radhika. Let our prayer never cease.

  2. Kathy Oliveira on November 18, 2021 at 5:03 pm

    Thank you. I needed to hear your words to comfort my tears.

    • JOHNBOSCO OBIAKO on November 19, 2021 at 8:26 am

      Let the tears of Jesus Himself be of healing and consoling effect to you and to us all. God bless you, Kathy.

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