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The Background:
The mood of a city

The Way of the Cross in Jerusalem, the "city of our God", "the city of the great King", "the city of Jesus Christ", is a unique experience. It leads you in the footseps of Jesus up to Calvary. It makes you feel the presence of those dramatic moments in the life of this city.

It was a day like many others way back toward the year 30AD, but it was a day of tremendous events. The city was in a festive mood.

Thousands of Jews had flocked to the city to celebrate the feast of Pesah. They were obliged to make this pilgrimage ("Three times a year you are to celebrate a festival to me..... Three times a year all the men are to appear before the Sovereign Lord" - Ex 23,14.17) and on this particular feast of Pesah there was nothing unusual. They had come to celebrate. They filled the streets, enjoyed the view of the marvelous Temple and surely they were proud to have such a temple in their city to compete with the pagan monuments of their pagan rulers.

They engaged in gossip and some hard-headed Zealot whispered words of hatred against the foreign rulers.

There was no corner in Jerusalem which was left unoccupied. All inns where full and the slopes of the Mount of Olives offered some caves for shelter. The shepherds had gathered on the outskirts bringing their flocks in order to sell their lambs to those who were going to eat the paschal meal. And they had to kill by the hundreds.

From the Temple came not only the agitated loud voices of the vendors and money changers but also the singing and praise to the Lord. The air was filled with the smell of incense and the burnt meat of the offerings. It was a hectic day. It was a Friday, the eve of Pesah, the 13 of Nisan (Jn 19,31) most probably the 7th of April 30 AD.

A Prayer

Dear Jesus, how many times you came into this city of yours! How many times you celebrated with your people in your temple! How many times you saw how the Law and the Prophets had been transformed into a yoke on the people's shoulder. How many times, sitting in the Temple's spaces you must have felt insulted by the way your people offered their prayers and their sacrifices. I can hear you muttering the words of the Prophet: "The multitude of your sacrifices-- what are they to me? I have more than enough of burnt offerings, of rams and the fat of fattened animals; I have no pleasure in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats". (Is 1,11). Teach me Lord to love you with my heart and not with my words!

The Site

A view of Jerusalem today
from the Mount of Olives

© copyright 2001. Reflections, prayers and descriptive text
by John Abela ofm edited by Michael Olteanu
based on research by Albert Storm (SBF - Jerusalem)
Hi-Res pictures prepared by Michael Olteanu
Display pictures prepared by John Abela ofm

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Created / Updated Sunday, January 6, 2002 at 14:16:42 by John Abela ofm
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