Pilgrimage in the Footsteps of Jesus

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Pilgrimage in the Footsteps of Jesus
by Stephen J. Binz
(Twenty-Third Publications, 2006)

We’re used to making our Advent and Lent spiritual journeys. We might also walk further with Jesus, then, or walk where He walked.

Pilgrimage in the Footsteps of Jesus is one of the titles in the Threshold Bible Study series, in which Bible study programmes are organised according to themes that run through different parts of the Bible. This is an alternative to Bible study by book.  It takes us on a reading and study pilgrimage of the “geography of salvation”. We visit significant places of Our Lord’s life and study the related events and Bible passage(s) at each stop.

There are 30 chapters, moving from Nazareth (the Annunciation) to the Mount of Olives (the Ascension). Each chapter is anchored at a pilgrimage site, such as the Basilica of the Annunciation and Shrine of the Ascension, with a (rather small) picture of each place. There is a Bible passage (sometimes more than one), a write-up and reflection on the passage, questions for reflection and discussion, and a prayer.

For example, session 28 is at the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. The Bible reading is Mark 15:42-16:8, recounting Jesus’ burial and resurrection. The reflection reminds us that this may be the “last station of the sorrowful way of the cross” but it is also the “beginning of the glorious way of resurrection.” The angel points out the empty tomb but also says “He has been raised; he is not here”. Binz writes that the “truest pilgrimage is going out to tell others the good news and living the new life given to us by our risen Lord.”

This chapter is followed by the last two stops: Church of Peter’s Primacy at Tabgha (John 21:1-19) and Shrine of the Ascension (Luke 24:50-53; Acts 1:6-12). The final chapter reiterates a life-giving purpose of pilgrimage: “the other side of pilgrimage means going somewhere else in order to bring God in a new way to that place… We can discover God’s presence in the least likely places, and we can bring the presence of God to places that wait in darkness for the dawning light of our Risen Lord.”

In other words, we are called to share our Easter joy with others.

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Happy Easter!
Join in the Dance

Other titles in the Threshold series include Advent Light, The Resurrection and the Life, The Mysteries of the Rosary, The Beast and the Lamb and The Holy Spirit and Spiritual Gifts.

Lent and Easter Wisdom from Henri J. M. Nouwen

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Lent and Easter Wisdom from Henri J.M. Nouwen
Compiled by Judy Bauer
(Liguori Publications, 2005)

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It’s now about the middle of Lent and many of us would have started already on our personal observance of Lent, no?

This book is a meaningful Lent and Easter companion, covering every day during the period from Ash Wednesday to the Second Sunday of Easter. (I wish there were devotions for the rest of Easter as well.)

Each day’s devotion has a theme and includes a reflection from Fr. Henri Nouwen’s writings, a Bible passage (not the same as the Mass readings for the day), a prayer and a suggested “Lenten action” or “Easter action”.

For example, the theme for today, Day 17 Friday of the Second Week of Lent, is faithfulness.

The reflection is taken from Nouwen’s The Road to Daybreak: A Spiritual Journey. It is an excerpt where he writes about his desire and quest to live in a way in which “Jesus is truly the center”. Fr. George Strohmeyer from L’Arche advised him – “be faithful in your adoration”. This is what Nouwen says dawned on him:
“He kept using the word “adoration”. This word makes it clear that all attention must be on Jesus and not on me. To adore is to be drawn away from my own preoccupations into the presence of Jesus. It means letting go of what I want, desire, and have planned and fully trusting in Jesus and his love.”

The Bible passage is Luke 16:10-13 on “faithfulness in small things”.

The prayer asks God to “let the activities of my daily life be so centred on Your presence that my friendship with You is solidly entrenched in my heart of hearts.”

The suggested Lenten Action is – to spend time in adoration before the Blessed Sacrament and to be faithful to this even after Lent.

May we have a fruitful Lent and a holy and joyous Easter season!

♫ Makes me want to listen to Beyond the Days