Greetings from Jerusalem! (actually, Kiryat Yearim, 1 Samuel 7:1-2)
Today (5/17) was another great day on pilgrimage! We started the day out with Mass at a beautiful Church near the Jaffa Gate of the Old City, Ad Cenaculum (Latin: "to/toward the cenacle" or upper room), a Franciscan owned and operated Church in the Holy City. While this church is likely not the site of the actual upper room, it faces the likely location less than 10 yards away toward the east. The actual upper room has been under construction/ remodeling/
upgrading since we arrived in preparation for Pope Francis' visit on May 25th or 26th (we'll just miss him!), so we have not had the opportunity to see it -- bummer!
Today's homily at Ad Cenaculum was a very special grace for me. Msgr. Trapp was the main celebrant and after having heard the Gospel of Mark proclaimed by Fr. Battersby (the apostles in the upper room), Msgr. gave the homily. He keyed in on three important aspects of this site: (1) the sacramental aspect of the Eucharist in the Last Supper, (2) the origin of the priesthood and (3) the site of Pentecost. "Sacrament" was the main theme that stuck with me. Just as we must present the right material (bread and wine) for the sacrament of the Eucharist, so we have to present our authentic selves as the necessary material to become living sacraments for God, especially as his (God-willing) future priests. He urged us to shed our masks with each other and with God and to become more humble and authentic. Only if we present ourselves as we really are and see ourselves as God sees us will we present the necessary "material" to become the living sacraments (signs) of God's love for us and the world.
This reflection stuck with me the rest of the day, especially in prayer at the Latin Patriarchate Cathedral
|The Latin Patriarchate Cathedral|
Our next stop was to one of the oldest Christian communities in the Holy Land: The Syriac Church. There, we met one of the priests, who presented a bit of the history of the Syriac Church and allowed us to view the church, take pictures with him and pray. A particular treat was praying before an ancient picture of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Child Jesus, reported in tradition to have been painted by St. Luke, to which many miraculous healings have been attributed. We prayed for our benefactors, loved ones and friends, especially those who are sick and in need of healing.
|The Syriac Church|
a visit to the Latin Patriarchate Cathedral for more prayer before catching the bus to our guesthouse at about noon. We spent the remainder of the afternoon in reflection on the presentation and finding in the Temple -- a beautiful afternoon.
|The Blessed Virgin Mary|
and the Child Jesus
God bless each of you! Thank you for your prayers for me and for all of us!