Early this morning, Sunday, like the women in the gospel we went to the tomb of Jesus at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, entering the Old City by way of Herod’s Gate. Hardly any shops were open on the narrow streets before the Via Dolorosa except the bakeries where they were making fresh bread.
We walked the quiet dark street, the Via Dolorosa, the Street of Sorrow, up to the church and prayed the Way of the Cross marked out on different stations along the way.
We entered the church through a side door to a small chapel where an Ethiopian liturgy was going on shrouded with clouds of incense and celebrated with ancient chanting. They are here with the Armenians, the Copts from Egypt, the Greek Orthodox, and Roman Catholics– all with their Sunday liturgies in progress in different parts of the church.
Since the lines were not yet long going into the tomb of Jesus, we got in line and entered the tomb in small groups of three or four.
Then we had Mass in the Roman Catholic Chapel, where we read the Easter gospel from Mark that tells of the women coming to the empty tomb on Easter morning.
From the church we went to the Jaffa Gate, boarded the bus, and headed for our hotel for breakfast.
Tomorrow most of us go home. I stay for a few days with the Passionists at Bethany.