Our Judeo-Christian tradition includes many long journeys towards a unique encounter with God. The Israelites’ search for the Promised Land, Elijah fleeing to Mount Horeb, and Joseph and Mary travelling to Bethlehem are some example. Jesus’ own long journey of his public ministry ultimately leads to his final journey to Golgotha.
Many Christians since have been inspired to seek encounter with God through pilgrimage. It may be to sacred places abroad like the Holy Land, or walking in the footsteps of saints. The processions of our liturgy enrich our worship by drawing us physically into the journey of encountering God. They are, in their own way, pilgrimages into the mystery of Jesus’ death and resurrection, and our upcoming Holy Week celebrations are full of them.
Beginning with the procession at 9:00 am Mass on Palm Sunday, we continue with the processions of oils, gifts for the poor, and the Blessed Sacrament on Holy Thursday. The cross is the focus of procession on Good Friday, as it is brought into the church, and as we approach it in adoration. Finally, the Easter Vigil brings with it the procession of the light that dispels the darkness, and the procession to the font where we will not only renew our own baptism, but celebrate the baptism of five new Catholics – Thippi, Mathanki, Lucy, Song and Alan – who will then go on to process to the altar for the first time in Holy Communion.
Let us take the opportunity to participate in these processions prayerfully and place ourselves within the saving act of Jesus that is not just a historic event, but something that the liturgy makes real and present for us here and now.