Journey to Jerusalem
March 5, 2018
Jerusalem. The Holy City. I’ve prayed with this city in the psalms countless times, and I am now finally able to visit. As we’ve traveled the Holy Land, I’ve found myself growing in anticipation to be in this great city. Part of that anticipation has come from my own prayer and reflection in recent weeks.
While on retreat, we spent part of our time reflecting on death. Particularly, we contemplated the meaning of dying to self. As Christian people, and particularly as future ministers of the Church, we are called to a radical renunciation of ourselves in our desires and in our pride. As I spent time praying on this, I tried to find a place in scripture to focus my prayer. I realized that Jerusalem was just that place.
In the Gospel according to Luke, Jesus “resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem” (Lk 9:51). This he did knowing full well that he would be rejected, ridiculed, persecuted, and ultimately killed. I can’t imagine the depth of his love for the Father and for us to obediently follow that road leading to his death.
Jerusalem gives me the opportunity to reflect more deeply on what it means for me to die to myself. I’ve had to sacrifice my comfort while living out of my suitcase. I’ve had to learn a new level of patience when things don’t go as expected. In a few short months I will prostrate myself at ordination, symbolizing my death to the world. As I prepare for that moment, I will continue to meditate on Jerusalem and the death that once took place here, the death that gave way to resurrection granting eternal life.
By Michael McAndrew (Diocese of Dubuque)
Photos by Declan McNicholas (Diocese of Gary) and Peter Pedrasa (Diocese of Tucson)