15 March 2018

Pain and Friendship: themes of reflection in the Lenten pilgrimage

The Liturgical Pilgrimage continues along the Holy Places linked to the Passion. The second stop was the Flagellation Chapel, followed by the Church of Lazarus in Bethany.

Actuality and events

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In the Chapel of the Flagellation the crown of thorns which are intertwined with crystal roses, letting light pass through, indicates that, over pain and death, hope prevails.

The place where Jesus was scourged and condemned, marked the third station of the Lenten pilgrimage, which is part of the lenten tradition in the Holy Land.

Fr. Stefano Vauran celebrated the mass and the prayer of the Vespers as well. In the homily, Fr Luigi Maria Epicoco, spoke about the fruitfulness of pain.

Fr. LUIGI MARIA EPICOCO 
Pontifical Lateran University
"Jesus supports this side of human pain: the physical pain, a pain that leads us to desperation that calls for death, because it can become unbearable. This is the place where Jesus experiences this kind of suffering that almost touches despair and teaches us abandonment. As in Gethsemane, here, He teaches us that offering can change everything, that is, we should offer our suffering: not that this explains suffering, but in a certain sense, it makes it bearable, human, fruitful.”

The fourth stage of the Pilgrimage took place in Bethany, the land of Martha, Mary and Lazarus, Jesus' friends.

Among those present, were representatives of the small local Christian community, made up of about 30 families.

Randa Tavitian
Cook
"I try to live charity including everyone, Christians and Muslims. Charity is the most important virtue in our lives: it allows us to reflect the light of Christ in the world. We are the light and the salt of the earth.”

Here, the mass was celebrated by fr. David Grenier, the secretary general of the Custody of the Holy Land. Also in this Mass, the homily was preached by Father Luigi Maria Epicoco.

Fr. LUIGI MARIA EPICOCO 
Pontifical Lateran University
"Jesus was able to give his life for Lazarus. He resurrected Lazarus and from that moment on he was sentenced to death; a sort of exchange takes place, Lazzaro is safe and Jesus dies instead. This shows us that the greatest love is always concrete, it is never abstract: at some point, giving one's life means dealing with the name of Lazarus, the name of a person or a situation in which we are called to truly give our life.”

After Mass, the reading of the Gospel took place: it narrates Lazarus' resurrection by the entrance to his tomb, where later everyone was able to enter to pray.

An unforgettable experience for pilgrims who have the privilege of living Lent in the Holy Land!

Paulino Barros
Public employee
"We come from Brazil, where we learned about many events through the Gospel, but here we can live [the Gospel]! We are standing right where Jesus walked".

Maria da Conceição Lima
Teacher
"I was able to see and touch places, I could feel a more alive, a deeper [faith], I mainly was able to perceive that Jesus is real. However, does my faith depend on the fact that I am here, on the fact that I was able to come here? Not at all! I have always believed! But being here enriches my faith in a more tangible way.”