Throughout the Easter season, throughout the church liturgical year we are on a pilgrimage, a journey of faith. For those who have traveled to the Holy Land it helps to focus our faith recognizing the Abrahamic religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The rest of this article comes from Msgr. Larkin’s forward to a pilgrimage to the Holy Land.
“According to a Stockholm University Study in 2011, pilgrims visit the Holy Land to touch and see physical manifestations of their faith, confirm their beliefs. One of the great Biblical scholars of the Holy Land has said that ‘the land is the fifth Gospel.’” In late February of 2018, Msgr. Larkin will lead a pilgrimage to the Holy Land for 12 days, and I am willing to assist him as co-chaplain. “In the Holy land of Jesus we read the scriptures in ‘their home’ in order to meet the Lord in new ways.”
A pilgrimage is a journey. It is not a tour nor simply a visit or a trip; it is a metaphor for our lives as Christians. The Third Eucharistic prayer prays ‘for your pilgrim church.’ Our life long pilgrimage is a journey within the community of the church so that a journey to the Holy Land is a joint venture. God can touch us through the places we visit, the readings we listen to, the prayers we offer, and through our fellow pilgrims.
In the course of the pilgrimage we will reflect on the central themes of our faith in the birth, ministry, passion and death, and resurrection of Jesus. We do not simply look to the past, but celebrate with prayer and ritual our own participation in the mystery of Christ. A pilgrimage takes us to a different place. It also invites us to journey inward to encounter God within each of us who have been gifted with his “Spirit.”
“A Spiritual Journey” by Wendell Berry
And the Word cannot be discovered
by a journey of miles,
no matter how long,
but only by a spiritual journey.
A journey of one inch
very arduous and humbling and joyful,
by which we arrive at the ground of our feet,
and learn to be at home.
If you are interested in participating in this pilgrimage to the Holy Land in February 2018, please contact me via email so that I can forward your name and email address to Msgr. Larkin so that you can begin receiving the background material for the pilgrimage. He will send out the itinerary when George’s International Tours prepares it in consultation with him. Expect to visit Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Bethany, the Jordan river, the Galilee, Capernaum, Nazareth, Cana, Mt. Carmel and more. There will be many Constant Contact emails you will receive over time, 108 pages of background, history, and context material to prepare for the journey.
I look forward to traveling with you.
Fr. Larry Hendel, Pastor