Morning excursion took us through the Jewish Quarter to the platform that used to be crowned with the magnificent Temple where Jews worshipped God and where Jesus came many times. The Temple was destroyed by Romans in 70 AD who pushed of the platform all they could but the size of the platform that is still there gives some idea how magnificent the Temple building must have been. Today the site belongs to Muslims who built there two mosques. One of them is the Dome of the Rock with a noticeable golden dome. As I was walking through the site I thought about Jesus who as a young boy “got lost” here as St Luke says. Christ also many times visited this place. It is an overwhelming experience that he was coming here, to the House of this Heavenly Father. Exploring the site I was hit, not by the Muslims who gather here to pray and study their sacred book, but by the thought that if I came here 2000 years ago I wouldn’t be able to walk so freely as my access to the site would be restricted to the Pagan Court. Well, I am not a Jew so according to the Jewish Law I would be classified as a pagan. Apparently there was an inscription with this warning: “No foreigner is to enter within the balustrade and enclosure around the temple area. Whoever is caught will have himself to blame for his death which will follow.” Wandering around I had an impression that the site looks empty. There is the Dome of the Rock in the middle and another mosque on the South end of the platform and nothing much. However it was interesting to find out that the place can accommodate up to 250 thousand Muslims praying there. I guess then it doesn’t look so empty. Leaving the top of the Temple Mount we made our way down to the southwestern corner of the platform to explore the archeological findings there. Even what Romans left behind after their “good” destruction job shows the scale of the Jerusalem Temple. A human being seems to be a tiny ant standing at the feet of the platform and there was much to see on the top of the platform in the old days. Brian pointed out the ruins of adjacent shops where people were buying things needed for the visit to the Temple. Probably here Jesus got furies and turned the tables of the money changers over. Another thing that drew my attention was the magnificent stairways that is also called the Stairs of Ascent as it was the main entrance to the Temple. The top steps were hewn in the bedrock and Jesus Christ must have climbed them when he was coming to the Temple. It was something special to walk the same stairs he walked up to pray here. It was also explained to us that Rabies would preach on these stairs. I am wandering which of Jesus sayings were given right in this place.
Fr Daniel OMI
An Oblate Priest