A few days before the celebrations of Holy Week, where the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus are remembered, on this Tuesday of the third week of Easter, April 20, Custos of the Holy Land Brother Francesco Patton presided at Mass in the holiest place in all of Christianity, namely the Holy Sepulcher. It's the place where Lord Jesus conquered sin and death with His Death and Resurrection.
The Holy Mass was celebrated inside the Wayside Shrine of the Holy Sepulcher, in the Chapel of the Angel, in the place where, according to the narration of the Evangelist St Matthew, "the angel sat on the stone that closed the tomb and appeared to the women to announce the Resurrection".
Brother Patton recalled how: "in the Basilica of the Holy Sepulcher, the Franciscans guard the physical place of reconciliation between God and mankind". He then went on to comment on the two fundamental teachings of the day's readings: "the Gospel of John reminds us that Jesus is the Bread of Life and gives life to the world; St Luke in the Acts of the Apostles tells us of the martyrdom of Stephen and helps us to understand that in the witness of the disciple, the witness of Jesus, the Master, is made present".
Custos of the Holy Land Brother Francesco Patton said, "The meaning of this celebration is to pray for the benefactors of the Holy Land. We know that without their support it would be impossible to carry out this mission, which benefits the local community and also the pilgrims when they will be able to return. We feel a debt of gratitude to all the benefactors. We feel a duty of gratitude to celebrate here, in the holiest place in all of Christianity, those who help us, who support us financially. So they allow us to carry out the mission that the Church has entrusted to us."
He added, "We certainly feel the duty to pray for those who suffer. In a way, here in Jerusalem we are in a phase of recovery, of resurrection, of coming out of this pandemic. But we know that there are countries that are still suffering greatly. Countries such as Brazil, India, are suffering terribly, and so are many others all over the world. Praying for the sick here in the place of the Resurrection has a special value because it sheds light, with the strength of faith and the virtue of hope, on the path that some countries are still taking to emerge from the pandemic."
He continued, "This experience of celebrating inside Jesus' tomb helps Christians all over the world to understand the value not only of Easter but also of the Eucharistic celebration, which is always a memorial of Easter."