Early in April I came upon a Pastoral letter from the vicar of our village church in Thornford, following his recent visit to Jersualem and is very topical for us, following the recent visit of Pope Francis. 

Michael Anderson has for the past twelve years made an annual pilgrimage to the Holy City and has also visited various parts of India to visit Catholic Christian shrines. But it was his visit to Jerusalem that really captured my interest.   

He writes: ‘At the North East corner of the Mount of Olives, near the site of the Tombs of the Prophets, Haggai, Malachi, and Zechariah, there is an enchanting little church called Dominus Flevit, built in the shape of a tear and designed by the famous Italian architect, Antonio Barluzzi.

‘As you kneel in prayer and look towards the crucifix on the altar, you are struck by the beauty of the window behind the altar, a window that has an iron lattice incorporating a chalice in the middle and beyond it one of the most beautiful views of the old city of Jerusalem. It was at that spot that Christ wept for Jerusalem. I have been there twice, and on each occasion found my own tears rolling down my face.

‘We might ask why Jesus was focussing on Jerusalem. The answer lies in the fact that Jerusalem, the city of God, symbolised the entire nation as it does today. It was and still is Israel’s largest city and the nation’s spiritual and political capital, and Jews and Gentiles from all over the world visit it regularly. But Jerusalem had a history of rejecting God’s prophets, and it would reject his Messiah just as it had rejected his forerunners. Little wonder that Jesus wept as he said, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill prophets and stone those who sent you, how often have I longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! Look, your house is left to you desolate. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.”  Mt 23:37-38