The calendar of Lent, in the Holy Land, is rich and intense. In the second week of Lent, the pilgrimages to the sanctuaries of the passion and death of Jesus, a tradition many centuries long kept alive by the Franciscans of Jerusalem, which culminates in Holy Week.
Padre ARTEMIO VITORES, Vicar General of the Custody of the Holy Land: “We in the Holy Land are fortunate because we can follow Jesus, hear Jesus in all the places where He manifested Himself, where He loved us. It is a grand tour, because the character of the Holy Land is defined by this word: hic, here. I can see with my own eyes and touch with my hands.”
The first celebration is here at the Sanctuary of the Dominus Flevit, which means the “The Lord Cried”. The little sanctuary, situated on the Mount of Olives, has welcomed the local community and the pilgrims for the celebration of the Holy Mass, this year presided over by Fr. Narcisio Klimas, who, in his homily, spoke of the tears of Jesus.
Father NARCISO KLIMAS, OFM: “Bitter tears with gnashing of teeth, with mourning, it was not a normal cry, but He was crying because he looked at His city. He cried because the city did not recognize Him as its prophet, thus His words: Jerusalem, Jerusalem …you who kill the prophets, one day, of this city, there will not remain one stone upon another.”
The Lenten Pilgrimage, which is above all a journey of meditation, will stop at a different station, every week, in a different sanctuary. It begins here, from this place where it is possible to contemplate the splendid panorama of a holy city loved by God, but which continues to be full of contradictions and suffering.
About two hours before the beginning of the celebration, in the other part of the city, a tragic terrorist attack took place. It makes it all the more striking to think of the name and the event to which this sanctuary is dedicated: “Dominus Flevit”, the Lord Cried, here, over Jerusalem because “it had not taken the way of peace”.
Father NARCISO KLIMAS, OFM: “Christ continues to cry and His crying is still very timely because the people will suffer as long as they do not recognize in Him the true Messiah, and it is difficult to answer what is the true cause of these problems, which we live through in these days, in these years in Jerusalem, in the holy city, in His city.”