Friday of the Fourth Week of Lent

In today’s Gospel, Jesus had been avoiding Judea because of threats against him.  However, he decides to go up to Jerusalem in secret for the feast of Tabernacles.

This feast of Tabernacles is the last of the appointed festivals or feasts given to Moses by God in Leviticus 23.  It was celebrated right after the harvest season.

The name comes from God’s order to live in booths or tabernacles for seven days during this festival.  Another name for these dwellings would be “tents.”  They would serve as a reminder for the people of Israel of how their ancestors had lived in tents during the Exodus.  Those ancestors did not have permanent homes but only temporary dwellings as part of their nomadic existence.

A pilgrim is defined as one who journeys in a foreign land or as one who travels to a holy place as a devotee.  The Catechism describes the three states of the Church.  While some members are being purified and others are already in glory, others are “pilgrims on earth” (CCC 954).  That is our state here, and we meet both aspects of the dictionary definition: journeying in a foreign land and headed toward a holy place as a devotee.  Jesus said of his disciples, “They do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world” (John 17:16).

There is a temptation to put down deep roots in this world and to forget that we are a pilgrim people.  We are in this world, but we are journeying toward the next. 

Are we prepared to undertake this pilgrim journey?  Have we fixed our eyes on our destination?  Are we joining with our fellow pilgrims to make this journey together?