From the Gospel lesson for Friday in the week of Proper 5B (Pentecost 2, 2015)
41 As [Jesus] came near and saw the city, he wept over it,
42 saying, “If you, even you, had only recognized on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes.”
On the hillside of the Mount of Olives, coming down toward Jerusalem from Bethphage, is a massive graveyard. Stone mausoleums hold, in one huge area, the bodies of dead Jews hoping to be first among the resurrected; in another large area are buried the bodies of dead Muslims also hoping to be first among the resurrected. Just across the Kidron Valley at the foot of the eastern wall of the city is a Christian burial ground filled with more dead hoping to among the first in the general resurrection. Just to the north of the Jewish tombs and overlooking the Muslim graves is a church designed by Antonio Barluzzi known by the Latin name “Dominus Flevit,” which means “The Lord wept.” It stands on the traditional site where Jesus stopped before entering the city, shed the tears Luke reports, and uttered this lament. It is a small church with a few chairs and simple altar; the altar window is plain glass. In the center of that window one sees the Dome of the Rock sitting atop the Temple Mount. When I was there, the vessels of the Holy Eucharist sat on a ledge in front of that window. As I sat in that church looking through the that window, the holy things of three Abrahamic faiths merged into a single picture: dome, mount, communion. The land and city within which they stood was not and never has been at peace, but here the things of peace sat. The only ones enjoying the peace which those things promise were the hopeful dead lying peacefully in their graves awaiting resurrection. The things that make for peace were not hidden; they were there in plain sight, but only the dead, at peace and hidden from our eyes, could see them.