The heart-rending scene of today's Gospel should make us stop and think. Our Beloved Saviour, on the very day of his triumphal entry into Jerusalem, is moved to tears; he weeps over the holy city, lamenting her destruction which he foresaw. That terrible event which is recorded in history took place in the year 70 A.D. Jerusalem and its Temple were razed to the ground, utterly annihilated, brought low to the most profound humiliation.
More important for us is the motive of this catastrophe. The Lord tells us is because "you did not know the time of your visitation", that is to say, you did not realise the time that God was visiting you, bringing you salvation. God was in your midst, He walked among you, He healed your sick, He raised your dead, He brought consolation to all — and you rejected Him, you trampled Him under foot, you nailed Him to a cross. That horrible sin is what led to the destruction of Jerusalem, the glorious city, so long favoured by God.
But this event holds a deep lesson for each of us, for each of us is represented by the Holy City. Each soul, created by God, is destined to know Him and be one with Him in love. To that end, God visits us with His grace, He sends us inspirations, He guides us through the Holy Scriptures and through the teachings of the Church. He beckons continually to sinners, that they might return to Him. But the sinner rejects God, refusing His visits. And yet God continues to come back. He does not give up on the sinner.
And yet that mercy of God, which is not limited in its source, is limited in its earthly and temporal expression. There comes a day when His grace can no longer reach us, either because we have reached the end of our life or because we have made ourselves so deaf to His voice that He simply can't make Himself heard. "There is none so blind as he who will not see", and there is none so deaf as he who will not hear. St Augustine would have spoken of the Jesus who passes by and does not return, referring to the visits of the Lord which do not last indefinitely.
So let us be sure to hearken to the voice that cries out to us each day. Let us be attentive to the grace that is given to us today. Today is the acceptable time, today is the day of salvation, for we know not if we will have a tomorrow, and we cannot presume on the mercy of God. God is not mocked, says St Paul to the Galatians.
May the Mother of Mercy touch our hearts and soften them, that they may receive the grace God is offering us today. And may our sincere conversion dry the tears off Jesus' face, and console His Sacred Heart. That is what St Mary Magdalene did. Today her feast is somewhat forgotten because of the Sunday, but her tears mingle with those of the Lord. She teaches us by her example to mourn for our past wickedness, and she gives us the assurance that if we will only open our hearts to divine grace today, the path to real sanctity can open before us. With her, let us dry Jesus' tears today.