Sunday, 15 February 2009

Day 1 in Jerusalem

After a very good night flight we safely arrived in Jerusalem. Straight away we walked to the Holy Sepulchre where we prayed at the Tomb of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

After breakfast we returned to the Holy Sepulchre for Mass.

After a guided tour of the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre we walked through the Old City market for lunch.

After a well deserved siesta and supper we went to see the Western Wall of the Temple.

Today's homily:

What happened here on Good Friday afternoon has many layers. On Golgotha our salvation was wrought. Love spent itself to the last drop of blood, his heart was opened for us to make our way in. As we move to the tomb of Jesus we turn to an act of kindness from those who loved Jesus and gave a dignified burial to the broken body of our Beloved.
However the stone had to be sealed. The crucifixion of our Lord came as a result of the angst of the religious leaders of the time. They were comfortable in the nest they have built around them. Religion was more about their understanding of scriptures rather than the freedom found in the will of God. Jesus challenged this. What he said was so obvious and so challenging that they decided to silence him and seal him in a tomb. Doing that would allow them to enjoy unhindered the reality, albeit false, that they inhabited.
It would be easy for us to “tut tut” the establishment of the time, maybe without realising that we Christians have the tendency to do what at heart is the same. We do not seal Jesus in a tomb; we seal him in a tabernacle. We acclaim him on Sunday but seem to be happy to leave him behind us in church. Christ will be the Lord of our life when we take him with us wherever we go. All our thoughts, words, actions and decisions are to be done in the light of the mighty resurrection which happened here. Jesus shattered the tomb in which he was enclosed; he also wants to shatter the compartments we put him in. In order to shatter the tomb he needed friends to place his lifeless body there. In order to shatter the compartments in which many Christians are want to enclose him he still needs his friends – and that is where we come in.
Today in this glorious place, this holiest place on earth, we renew our memory. Not our individual memories but our Christian family memory as we do in every Mass. We renew the memory that in this place the Old Testament has been perfected and all the promises fulfilled. Here, new life is given from a shattered tomb, a life of love so great that even death cannot contain, and we are part of that life, of that living memory.
Let us examine ourselves to see if there is any area of our life in which we are not comfortable to take Jesus, and with our life and witness let us make sure that Jesus our love and our life shines through us wherever we may be so that others can see Jesus in our eyes.

Holy Land Day 1

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