Gospel of Matthew but I took an opportunity to join the Franciscan Friars as they led pilgrims on Via Dolorosa, the way Jesus walked carrying the cross to the Calvary. We know the stations very well as we do the Stations every Friday in Lent. Sometimes we look for some nice reflections or we try to create reflective atmosphere by using candles and various lights what you experience in Jerusalem at the Stations of the Cross is completely different. The street is as busy as during the other times. Nobody stops to let the pilgrim go. You need to push yourself through the crowds of sellers and buyers or just walking by. The noise of the locals sometimes makes it impossible to hear what the priest says but it makes the whole prayer more real. As I was walking with the pilgrims I thought about our Lord walking this way and meeting a similar reaction. There was probably lots of indifference, some probably even missed the young man carrying the cross as they were trying to get a good deal in the shops. As I have mentioned I was struggling to hear the prayers read at the Stations but I was praying so hard to tell Jesus that I don’t want to be indifferent to his suffering but I do appreciate what he has done for us. The moment which hit me most was when we reached the Calvary.
Standing there you don’t need any reflections to put you in a praying mood. The place itself screams about what happened here when God died for men and women of all generations. Here you realize that the Crucifixion isn’t a story but an event grounded in the place and time. However the Stations don’t finish at the Golgotha but the procession makes its way to the Tomb of Jesus. When we finished the final prayers we witnessed a powerful moment: a Franciscan Priest walked out of the Tomb to give us a blessing. I just thought that if 2000 years ago Jesus Christ didn’t walked out of this same tomb all we do in our churches wouldn’t make sense. The power of all the sacraments, blessings etc. comes from his Glorious Resurrection. After the blessing we all sang in Latin:
Regina cæli, lætare, alleluia:
Quia quem meruisti portare, alleluia,
Resurrexit, sicut dixit, alleluia,
Ora pro nobis Deum, alleluia.
It is an ancient Easter Hymn in honor of Our Lady:
Queen of Heaven, rejoice, alleluia.
For He whom you did merit to bear, alleluia.
Has risen, as he said, alleluia.
Pray for us to God, alleluia.
I was surprised that most of the people sang it. It was like the song of the angels announcing Jesus’ Resurrection.