Reflection of the Week - 19th March 2024

Posted in Faith

We Are A Pilgrim People

The act of making a pilgrimage – traveling to a sacred place to encounter the divine – is ancient, probably as old as humanity itself. Perhaps the first Christian pilgrimage was that of the Wise Men, men who were not even believers in the Messiah, but who knew that “something” drew them from their homes and studies. Unsure as to what they sought, they found not a someTHING, but a someONE: Christ the Lord.

Pilgrimages are undertaken for many reasons: seeking healing and peace, an attempt to make amends, to do penance. Whether by foot or car, plane or train, the journey is more than the process of getting from point A to point B. A wise pilgrim realizes that the journey is essential to the pilgrimage. The journey teaches us about ourselves. Are we short-tempered with our fellow travelers? Are we anxious about what we’ll find? Do we dread the details of the journey? Are we filled with shame, regret, wonder, anticipation? More importantly, the journey allows us to be drawn into a deeper relationship with God. How do we encounter the holy on this quest? What is God teaching us, not only at our destination, but on the way?

As Christians, we are a pilgrim people. We are always journeying to that most sacred of places: our Heavenly home. The entirety of life is a pilgrimage – we are destined for Heaven, but surrounded every day by the chance to encounter the holy. In order to make the most of this journey, we must plan well. We need to be fed: Scripture and the Eucharist provide the sustenance we need. A journey requires a map: the guidance that prayer gives us. We travel with others (family, friends, co-workers, strangers) and we must ask God why He placed each of these people into our life, into our pilgrimage, for God does nothing by chance.

The season of Lent is a journey, a chance for a pilgrimage. Now, we can treat it like a game: advancing ourselves a step at a time as if we’re playing Candy Land or Life, with the goal of getting to Easter in the quickest, simplest way possible. The goal is to beat out our companions either by speed or the money we’ve banked during the game. But what makes for a pleasant game makes for a lousy Lent. The purpose of Lent is not to see who can give up the most with the least whining or who makes the largest donation of alms. No, the Lenten journey asks us to walk with Christ, each and every day. That means we must be willing to do whatever He asks of us: to leave our homes, to give up our selfish ways, to carry our cross just as He carries His.

And the pilgrimage does not end at Easter: Hurray! We made it! We won … now back to ‘normal.’ In fact, should we simply revert to our former lives after Easter we are lost: our pilgrimage led us nowhere.

We are a pilgrim people, meant for Heaven but with a vast journey between where we are and where our journey leads. This Lent, this Easter, let us journey well. Let us be aware of the sacred, the holy that surrounds us every day. Let us encounter Christ.


Encountering the Holy, through Lent, Easter and Beyond, We Are A Pilgrim People – Diocesan



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