John 11:35…Jesus Wept…it is one of the verses that when I was your age I had to memorize. Our Sunday School teacher would randomly test us on chapter and verse and we would have to know it.
It is also one of the verses that has always stuck with me.
It’s the shortest verse in the bible but there is so much power behind it. It always moved me when our Pastor would preach on it. But it was just recently that I saw a new insight into. A couple years ago, Fr O’Brien was preaching on this reading. He had one line that has always stuck with me…” Jesus Wept not because his friend Lazarus died, but because all humankind has to die.” Jesus wept because there was evil in this world and because of it we would have to experience death.
I know many of you were too young or maybe not even alive to remember when 9/11 occurred but I was in my second year at West Point, getting ready for my American Government class when the first tower got hit and in class when they went down. I wept. I wept not because I knew those people dying, but because it was just such an evil act.
Last year, 49 people were killed at Pulse. They died because a man allowed evil to grow in his heart and control him.
I have had friends die in the Global War of Terrorism that has been going on now for 16 years. I wept.
You see Jesus wept alongside me and each one of us when evil occurs because conflict, strife, ugliness, murder, war, and death are not from him. They are the absence of him in the lives of mankind. When we gossip, when we bad mouth someone, when we do harm to others, when we lose a friend, when we lose a family member, Jesus weeps with us. Because we are not experiencing the world as God intended it for us. We are experiencing a distorted and ugly version of what he made for us.
In DC there is one of the most beautiful churches that you could ever worship in. It the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Every time that I go there I am drawn to one of the 90 chapels that is located there. The one I always going to first and spending the most time in prayer and reflection is the Shrine of the Queen of Peace. In that image, we get a foretaste of what God truly wants for us. He wants us to feel that same safe love and peace that we felt when we were young and held by our mothers. But he wants even more than that. He wants us to feel the perfection of that feeling in Heaven.
But until we get to Heaven we are called to bring that peace into this world. We are called to be the peacemakers of this world. To do what we can to bring beauty and love into an imperfect world by first knowing our savior Jesus Christ and second spreading that love to the rest of the world. Let us pray in song that we can do that.