Free Tommy Robinson !!
Roman Destruction of Jerusalem
Ordinary of the Mass
Mass Text - Latin
Mass Text - English
In this morning's
epistle (I Corinthians: X. 6-13.) Saint Paul is reminding the Corinthians of
some of the unfortunate events associated with the Exodus of the Jewish
people from Egypt. Although they had been held in bondage, they had
been living in civilization, and had some of the amenities that go along
with city life. The Exodus was an arduous trek, the food wasn't too
good—Manna was something that they picked off the ground out of the
morning dew. If they kept it overnight it was likely to spoil or
acquire maggots. Wild quail were the alternative. They encountered
hostile tribes, were tempted by the women of some of the tribes, and
tempted to worship the false gods of the tribes. Everyone is familiar
with them making a golden calf to worship while Moses was away on Mount
Sinai. God referred to them as a “stiff-necked people,” an “adulterous
generation.” Sometimes they drew God's bitter wrath—Paul mentions twenty
three thousand that died in one day—apparently a different episode from
the poisonous snakes that plagued them.
While we are
talking about Old Testament events, it will help to understand the
Gospel if we understand the significance of the City of Jerusalem.
After the Exodus, Jerusalem was the only place permitted by God for His
sacrificial worship. (One of the Jewish criticisms of the Samaritans
was that they had set up a rival temple in their territory, in defiance
of God's command. In the book of Genesis we read that Abraham had
prepared to sacrifice his beloved son Isaac—and the place where he went
to do this was called “Moriah,” the very same Mount Moriah where the
Temple would be built nearly a thousand years later. Moriah was
adjacent to Golgotha, “the place of the skull,” where legend had it that
the priest-king Melchisedech had deposited the skull of the first man,
Adam. Above all, before the time of Christ, the Temple in Jerusalem was
the only location where the real presence of God dwelt—the Shekinah,
in the Holy of Holies.
presence might have continued to abide in the Temple if the Jews of
Jesus' time had recognized “the things that were for their peace, but
we're hidden from their eyes.”
What a different history they would have lived if they had accepted the
heavenly kingship of Jesus Christ. Instead they crucified Him, “and
behold the veil of the temple was rent in two from the top even to the
bottom, and the earth quaked, and the rocks were rent.”
The real presence of God left dramatically. And about thirty seven
years later the Romans came and finished the job, leaving very little of
the Temple or the city. “Flat to the ground ... With not a stone upon a
stone,” was not a great exaggeration! The Roman's built a temple to
Jupiter, and in 691 the Moslems built The Dome of the Rock to
commemorate Mohamad's alleged ascension into Heaven.
The Church has us
consider the prophesied destruction of Jerusalem as a warning to
everyone who has heard the Gospel, yet refuses to make the appropriate
response to it. Those who fail to love God, fail to love our neighbors,
and otherwise fail to keep God's commandments are in very much the same
situation as those who rejected Him in 33 AD. This is the time of our
visitation! This is the time to respond to the grace's given us—the
intellectual graces we have received from the Gospel, as well as from
hearing sound sermons and reading good Catholic literature—but, even
more importantly, the sanctifying graces that come to us in prayer and
in the Sacraments.
The Roman sack of
Jerusalem was incredibly violent. Beyond the destruction of the
buildings, no food was allowed into the city and the wells were
poisoned. There may have been some cannibalism. What little food they
had was confiscated. Any and all resistance was met with the sword.
And when the Roman's suspected anyone of swallowing their valuables to
hoard them, that person's stomach was opened with a sword and their
entrails pulled out on the ground to be searched!
I certainly hope
that none of us ever has to face such violence! But even though such
violence is as possible in our world as it was two thousand years ago,
we ought to consider how human violence pales by comparison with the
loss of God and the pains of Hell. Hell and its pains are real—we have
this on no lesser authority than that of Jesus Christ, Himself, repeated
many times in the Gospels:
It is better to enter lame into life everlasting, than having two feet,
to be cast into the hell of unquenchable fire: Where their worm dies
not, and the fire is not extinguished.
Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire which was prepared for
the devil and his angels.
Do not be fooled by modernist talk about
Hell being only for the devil and his apostate angels; or that the fires
will one day go out; or that the souls of the bad will just cease to
exist. God is merciful, but the “flip side” of Mercy is justice. There
would be no justice if God rewarded bad people equally with the good
people. Our Lord tells about the judgement:
And these shall go into everlasting punishment: but the just, into life
So, today is our
day of visitation. Resolve now to follow Jesus Christ—to know His words
and to keep His commandments—resolve not to suffer the awful punishments
of those who reject Him.