The opening line of the Gospel says it all: “Jesus was going up to Jerusalem…”
For the people of the Old Testament the great city of Jerusalem surrounded the magnificent temple and was a city of pilgrimage, not like a modern-day pilgrimage to Lourdes or Rome, but more like the pilgrimage to the altar in a parish church. This holy mountain was a place built into the heart of every believer in the One God, the place where heaven touched earth, the mount where Abraham had taken Isaac for sacrifice, the site on which the Ark of the Covenant had been placed containing the Ten Commandments, the Mountain of the Lord.
But Jesus understood going up to Jerusalem in a new way. Jesus knew that the path of fully-lived life involved suffering and that his own pilgrimage towards Jerusalem involved carrying his cross to death which became the pathway to resurrection.
Jesus takes his disciples aside and said to them: “Now we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man is about to be handed over to the chief priests to be be mocked and scourged and crucified; and on the third day he will rise again.”
Pedro Arrupe was the Superior General of the Society of Jesus for eighteen years from 1965 until a debilitating stroke required him to be replaced in this position in 1983. He did not find this easy, and for the next ten years until his death in 1991 he suffered greatly.
In the midst of this suffering he wrote the perfect prayer for the disciple of Jesus who is struggling with personal suffering. You might like to share this prayer with them telling them something of the circumstance of suffering that led Arrupe to write this.
“More than ever I find myself in the hands of God.
This is what I have wanted all my life from my youth.
But now there is a difference;
the initiative is entirely with God.
It is indeed a profound spiritual experience
to know and feel myself so totally in God’s hands”.
- In the heart of this Lenten journey to Jerusalem, the place of death and resurrection, take time to reflect with the prayer of Pedro Arrupe above.