Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Jerusalem, Jerusalem

I just returned from a trip to the Holy Land. On hearing Pope Benedict XVI's homily of the Palm Sunday Mass I wanted to share what he said about his own trip last year to the places where Jesus walked.

"The pilgrimage to the earthly Jerusalem," he said, "can be something useful for us Christians. Faith in Jesus Christ is not the invention of a fairy tale. It is founded on something that actually happened. We can, so to speak, contemplate and touch this historical event.

"It is moving to find oneself in Nazareth in the place where the angel appeared to Mary and transmitted the task of becoming Mother of the Redeemer to her.

"It is moving to be in Bethlehem in the place where the Word, made flesh, came to live among us; to put one's foot upon the holy ground where God wanted to make himself man and child."

"Following the material paths of Jesus should help us to walk more joyously and with a new certainty along the interior paths that Jesus himself points out to us," he said.

The Holy Father added, "When we go to the Holy Land as pilgrims, we go there, however as messengers of peace too, with prayer for peace; with the firm invitation that everyone in that place (which bears the word "peace" in name), has everything possible so that it truly become a place of peace."

"Thus," he said, "this pilgrimage is at the same time an encouragement to Christians to remain in the country of their origin and to commit themselves in an intense way to peace."

So to summarize the Pope said:
1) It is a great privilege to see the places where Jesus lived and walked and this can help us to appreciate His teachings and the sacrifice of His life for our salvation.
2) A visit to these lands should help us to pray for peace in these sometimes troubled lands.
3) Our visit can give hope and encouragment to Christians who have not left because of danger but have stayed.
(Pope Benedict's homily taken from a post on Zenit News Service on Palm Sunday, 2010)