Christians revere Jerusalem because the city is intimately tied to the final days of Jesus of Nazareth. The principal sites associated with his passion, death and resurrection are still there: Gethsemane, the Mount of Olives, Golgotha, the Holy Sepulchre, and remnants of the temple where he prayed and taught.
As believers, we are transported spiritually to these holy places through the liturgical readings and prayers of this week. We get a flavor of the Last Supper as we listen to the gospel reading on Holy Thursday evening. Through Good Friday’s reading of the passion and death of Jesus we get a taste of his suffering in the very city that persecuted and put to death the prophets of God before him.
The Easter gospel of the empty tomb can leave us puzzled as to who this enigmatic man really was. Like the Easter morning women at the tomb, we may want to go to Galilee to meet this Jesus with new eyes, and follow him anew through the pages of the Gospel to a place of better and deeper recognition and commitment.
The Holy Spirit waits there to lead us to that new ‘Damascus’ place, where our eyes will be opened to discover ‘the path of life and the fullness of joy…’ Ps 16.
This was the experience of the disciples who at first were fearful and hamstrung but who soon enough were out and about proclaiming a whole new way of life. It was the experience of Saul until he became Paul, the most energetic and fearless apostle of them all.