Indeed, of Zion it will be said,“This one and that one were born in her, and the Most High Himself will establish her.”… As they make music they will sing, “All my fountains are in you.” Psalm 87
Undoubtedly the most visited place during these days is Jerusalem, since during Holy Week the spirituality on this land is palpable even for non-believers. Pilgrims from around the world come to the Holy City to prepare themselves for the most important date of the Christian liturgical calendar, Resurrection Sunday; this is why, right now, the number of visitors has increased considerably.
How can this not be so? How can we not get excited over the next few days, in the very place where the great events of Salvation History took place?
For our part, in the novitiate, we begin on Palm Sunday with the Mass at 8:00 am in the Church of San Juan Bautista, sharing with the community of the Franciscans and some other friends known here in Ein Karem.
In the afternoon, we will first make a small stop at the Sanctuary of Dominus Flevit, the traditional place where Jesus wept over Jerusalem. We will there join the Procession of Palms, which begins in the Church of Bethfage, descending down the western slope of the Mount of Olives on the way to the Old City and entering through Lion’s Gate to reach the Temple of Santa Anna.
It will be such an enriching and wonderful experience when Christians from all the world will gather to walk together praying and singing for about two hours. There will be an impressive mix of cultures, races, and languages but the same feeling, the joy of showing faith.
For me, this will be the most unforgettable faith experience of my life until now! Participating in every possible activity is like entering a little into the life of Jesus and being there. In the very places where everything happened.
And begin to understand those words of Saint John Paul II:
“How many memories and images and how much passion and great mystery surround the word Jerusalem! For us as Christians, it represents the geographical point of union between God and men, between eternity and history.”
But for every believer, this should not be just a physical journey but a walk of the soul that involves the mind and heart awaiting the “encounter”. This pilgrimage is a call to prayer and conversion, to take the place of the prodigal son who, knowing how much weight and shame he has within him, also knows that he will find mercy.
So it does not matter where our pilgrimage takes place, whether here, in this Sacred Land, or in our cities of origin; what is truly important for us, as believers, must be our sense of listening and the focused attention through which participate in these rich liturgies; in this way we will be ready and expectant, having, at some level, lived through the Passion with Jesus, and hopeful of that Day of Resurrection.