"Behold, your house will be abandoned" (Luke 13:34).
Jesus' mission is cloaked in paradox. After a campaign of preaching and miracles, he arrives in Jerusalem, where his ultimate victory will begin with his crucifixion. He confronts the city with the lament that he wanted to gather everyone like a mother hen rounding up her chicks under her wings. Instead, Jesus is rejected and the fate of Jerusalem is sealed by the obtuseness of its leaders. On track to apocalyptic disaster, charlatans and so-called patriots will take the nation down in a war with Rome that destroys the city and kills or scatters its residents.
The paradox is that in death Jesus is affirmed and raised by God as a sign of divine mercy for sinners. The destruction of Jerusalem thrusts the church into the larger world where it will become the dominant influence on the world stage. Paul preaches the "paschal mystery" to both Jews and gentiles as the underlying pattern of history itself. By dying, we rise to new life. By surrendering ourselves to the common good, we advance the transformation of history with justice and love. What war and threat of force can never accomplish, God's Holy Spirit does in holy people and heroes of peace and nonviolence over the centuries.
We bring this mystery down to our daily lives by saying "yes" to the inner transformation the Spirit offers us now. Jesus stands before our world pleading with it to reject death and choose life. The tears Jesus wept at the gates of Jerusalem are the waters of baptism shed over us to cleanse us from selfishness and fear. The blood of Jesus' death surges in our earthly bodies joined to his Risen Body in every Eucharist we receive. The old creation is passing away. We are part of the New Creation in Jesus Christ. Let us live fully this gift of new life today, for this is the joy of the Gospel.