The Service of the Lord’s Passion and Veneration of the Cross today at 3 PM was a very moving experience once again this year. For me, however, this year it was different particularly because of the pilgrimage our parishioners and I made to the Holy Land this past January. Below I will share with you some of the photographs I took while in Jerusalem at the various locations that pertain to Good Friday. That first Good Friday took place at these places and I feel so fortunate and blest that we were able to be there.
This is the place where, as Jesus was being led away, Peter denied Him. You can see the bronze images and the cock on the top of the column. In the background you can see the “Dome of the Rock”. This is the site where the Temple stood in Jerusalem.
These steps have remained untouched since Jesus walked on them 2000 years ago. The plaque to the left attests to the authenticity of the fact that Jesus used these steps as He left to travel across the Kidron Valley to the Garden of Gethsemane.
At the very beginning of the Passion account on Good Friday we read that “Jesus went out across the Kidron Valley”. Above you can see the Kidron Valley taken from the Garden of Gethsemane. Olive trees and palm trees fill the valley. And, the wall to the Temple area is at the top of the picture.
This is the church at the Garden of Gethsemane inside which is the Rock on which Jesus rested and prayed.
This is the Rock where Jesus rested and prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane. The Altar where we celebrated Mass is located just behind the Rock.
Above, you can see the beautiful plaque in the Garden of Gethsemane with the words of our Blessed Lord which He prayed here.
The Garden of Gethsemane is filled with olive trees. The olive tree above is the only one in the garden to have been authentically documented as having been alive at the time that Jesus prayed there over 2000 years ago!
This is the Church of the Condemnation. It was here that Jesus was condemned to death and where He began His journey carrying the Cross to the Crucifixion.
The description above is in the Church and tells of its history and meaning.
The “Stone Pavement” which you see here, which is referred to in the Passion account proclaimed on Good Friday, is the place where Jesus walked as He was given the Cross to be carried by Him to Calvary. The stones you see here have not been changed and are the stones on which Jesus walked on Good Friday!
This sign marks the “Way of the Cross”.
These are the narrow streets of Jerusalem Jesus walked on as He went to Calvary.
Above you can see me pointing out and explaining one of the Stations. The Cross you see beside me was carried by each of us on the pilgrimage at different points as we walked, prayed and sang the Way of the Cross.
Here I am carrying the Cross. Each of us took turns carrying it as we prayed and sang.
The 6th Station.
This is the Church of the Holy Sepluchre. The last three stations are actually within the walls of this church.
Jesus was flogged and scourged at this pillar.
This is the place where Jesus was crucified. You can see that the Altar and walls are adorned with many icons and candles. When you venerate this spot you are able to go individually and touch the place where the Cross was mounted and kiss it.
After Jesus’ body was taken down from the Cross it was laid on this stone table and anointed. Today this would be equal to a modern embalming table. People come and pour perfumed oil on it and kiss it in reverence.
Above I am seen kissing the stone table.
The entrance to the Holy Sepluchre where Jesus was buried.
We celebrated Mass here in the grotto of the Holy Sepluchre. This was an amazing experience for me as a priest and for all of us who traveled on the pilgrimage.
I hope these images which I have included here are meaningful to all of you. They are not from a sound stage or from a Hollywood movie set. They are the real places where Jesus suffered and died for you and me. I pray that this Good Friday will be an occasion of grace and growth for all of you and for me as well. May our Lord who suffered and died and rose again for us be praised now and forevermore! AMEN.