Holy Week in the Holy Land

From the joyful waving of branches in the sun on Palm Sunday to silent contemplation in the ancient dark of the Holy Sepulchre. From the Last Supper’s upper room to the garden of Gethsemane to the jail of Jesus on the night he was arrested. From the foreboding of Holy Thursday, to the sorrow of Good Friday, to the joy of Resurrection Sunday, we have lived it all.

We have walked thousands of steps and shared small spaces with thousands of people. We have mourned our Lord’s death and rejoiced at his Resurrection in the places where it all happened. We will never forget it.

And now we want to share it with you.

A few interesting points: Did you know that the Upper Room is actually a decommissioned mosque? Mass is not permitted there, except perhaps in very special circumstances, like the visit of the Pope to the Holy Land. In the video you can see the Muslim mihrab niche facing Mecca when they remove the banner.

And yes, you read that right: the doorkeepers of the Holy Sepulchre are a local Muslim family that has been doing this for generations. Because of the politics of the church and the way it is shared between six Christian denominations, the Muslims are seen as fair and impartial stewards without any stake in the matter. So they open the door every morning and close it every evening.

Also, because of the politics of the Church, all Catholic masses in the Holy Sepulchre are held first thing in the morning, around 7:30am or 8am. Including the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday!

Also, you probably know that on Good Friday across the world, Catholics venerate some version of the cross. Normally it is a large wooden reconstruction of the cross. Here in Jerusalem, however, they have two very small wood slivers, just the size of large splinters, that are believed to be part of Jesus’ actual cross. They are preserved in glass and housed in the beautiful golden cross you see people venerating in the video.

The tomb is indeed empty, and you can see that for yourself here in Jerusalem. He is risen! Happy Easter! Alleluia, alleluia!


Filed under Catholic Life, Holidays, Holy Sepulchre, Walking Where Jesus Walked

2 responses to “Holy Week in the Holy Land

  1. Carolina

    Thank you Jessa and Rodolfo for sharing! I can’t wait to show the video to Nico and Joaquin, they know of all these sacred places from their catechesis class. Maybe you know about it, but just in case, in Pentecost the Easter Ortodox church witnesses every year the miracle of the Holy Spirit flames. You can google it, I’ve seen videos on YouTube. The miracle happens at the Holy Sepulcre church. And Pentecost is around the corner. Ohhhh maybe you won’t be there. I read about your trip to Austin🙂

  2. What an A-MA-ZING video! Great job, Jessa! I really like the expression “we have lived it all.”🙂 It was truly a wonderful experience being in the Holy Land for Holy Week! Happy Easter to all!

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