2014
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Gethsemane: Christ’s tears, promise of reconciliation

The liturgy of Jerusalem, like that of Rome or Constantinople, is a liturgy of stations that mean that believers are invited to go and pray on the sites where a Biblical feast is celebrated. Guardians of the holy places, the Franciscans go to Bethlehem at Christmas, to Nazareth for the Annunciation, to Jericho for the baptism of Christ in the Jordan River.

During Lent, the friars and believers are invited to celebrate the liturgy in the various sanctuaries that are linked to the Passion. The first pilgrimage of this Lenten retreat took place on Thursday, March 20th, at Dominus Flevit on the Mount of Olives. The friars of Saint Saviour conducted the liturgy, and Father Luca Grassi, an Italian priest who is staying with the Franciscan community for a sabbatical year, preached on the mystery of Christ’s tears (Lk 19; 41-44).

Taking up Saint Paul’s words to the Philippians, “Their God is their stomach; their glory is in their ‘shame’. Their minds are occupied with earthly things,” Fr. Luca added, “David realized that he was living in the illusion of being able to hide or control his mistakes, and Oh! how many times have we, believers or non-believers, also attempted to closer our eyes.” The tears of David, like the later tears of Jesus, should be understood as a revelation and blessing from God because they call on us to take responsibility. God does not cast us into sadness, but his gaze of compassion and mercy calls us to examine our conscience and be converted. “God helps us to understand our personal history and opens the way to a life of reconciliation,” concluded Fra Luca.

Next Wednesday, the 26th of March, the friars will continue their Lenten meditation at Gethsemane.

E.R.

Schedule of Lenten Pilgrimages
Wednesday, 26 March: Mass at Gethsemane, 4:00 p.m.
Wednesday, 2 April: Mass at the Flagellation, 5:00 p.m.
Thursday, 3 April: Mass at Bethany at 7:30 a.m., followed by a pilgrimage to the Pater Noster and the Ascension.
Wednesday, 9 April: Mass at the Lithostrotos (Flagellation), 5:00 p.m.
Friday, 11 April: Mass at Calvary, 9:00 a.m.

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