Thirty-Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Our Lord Jesus Christ The King

The pilgrim’s song

I rejoiced when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.”  And now our feet are  standing within your gates, Jerusalem. Jerusalem, built as a city, walled round about.  There the tribes go up, the tribes of the Lord, As it was decreed for Israel, to give thanks to the name of the Lord.  There are the thrones of justice, the thrones of the house of David. For the peace of Jerusalem pray: “May those who love you prosper! May peace be within your ramparts, prosperity within your towers.”  For the sake of my brothers and friends I say, “Peace be with you.”  For the sake of the house of the Lord, our God, I pray for your good. Psa 121

Today’s psalm is part of the wonderful Ascension Songs, which, in old Israel, used to celebrate Jerusalem as the holy city, because the people’s faith was alive in it. Since it lies on a high place, on the top of a hill, the pilgrim coming from any place in Palestine arrived in it with tired legs, but happy at heart, stopping for a while on his arrival to contemplate the vision of the city: “And now our feet are standing within your gates, Jerusalem!”. Jerusalem was the privileged city “to give thanks to the name of the Lord” and to administrate justice: “There are the thrones of justice, the thrones of the House of David”. To the Christians, the Ascension Songs have become the symbol of the earthly pilgrimage towards to Heavenly Jerusalem, where you always come a little tired, maybe a little disappointed because you realise you have lived a life full of contradictions. I remember grandpa Renzo’s last uphill steps: he was ill and tired and he could not wait to get to the top. He was no longer interested in this life: he used to listen to everything I told him with the same detachment as the ones who leave their earthly luggage to run uphill faster. He took part into our lives with interest only when I proposed him to pray together. One of the last days, I went to see him at the hospital in Florence and I saw him really smiling. “What have the doctors said to you? Are you getting a little better?” I asked him. “No, no – he answered me – they aren’t going to cure me any longer, they can only give me some dopes to ease the pain… ‘I rejoiced when they said to me “Let us go to the house of the Lord!””. That very moment I understood his smile and I became aware of the spiritual path he had quietly followed during those days. With tired legs and happy at heart, he was approaching the doors of Jerusalem, where “are the thrones of justice”. But he was happy because he knew he was going to meet the Lord of Mercy.

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