National Catholic Register

Opinion

Holy Week After the Holy Land

Holy Week has arrived for the whole Church now, but for me and those who joined me on a special Register pilgrimage to the Holy Land, this week will take on a special meaning.

BY Father Owen Kearns

Publisher

April 1-7, 2007 Issue | Posted 3/27/07 at 9:00 AM

 

Holy Week has arrived for the whole Church now, but for me and those who joined me on a special Register pilgrimage to the Holy Land, this week will take on a special meaning.

It is hard to put into words what makes a Holy Land pilgrimage so extraordinary.

We spent eight days in the Holy Land in March. At each stop, we reviewed the same mysteries we always have, and said the same prayers we always said, but with the addition of one word: Here. Here Mary lived. Here the Word was made flesh. Here he was crucified, here he was buried, here he rose from the dead.

The experience has made us more acutely aware of the reality of the incarnation. There was a “here.” There was a place and a time that he came into our history. We have seen it for ourselves.

If it were simply a historical site, it wouldn’t have the same impact. But we know that Christ wants to do the same thing again, in our place and time — through us.

This week, the whole Church will review the mysteries we reviewed in the Holy Land. Listen to the liturgy. It has a genius about it, and it carries within it all the elements necessary to teach the same truths our pilgrimage taught.

“Jesus knew and loved us each and all during his life, his agony and his passion, and gave himself up for each one of us,” says the Catechism of the Catholic Church (No. 478). “He has loved us all with a human heart.”

The Register readers who accompanied us on the pilgrimage experienced this in the places where Christ once walked on earth. I prayed there for you, Register reader, and I pray now that you will experience it anew in front of the tabernacles in your church, where Christ is present among us now.