Reflection: Life is a Pilgrimage
When people go on vacation they do a lot of sight-seeing. Sightseeing is visiting and looking at places and things that are interesting. Sightseeing busses are everywhere in large cities and take people to see the parts of the city that are unique to it.
A tourist does similar things. They see sights, discover new places, learn interesting facts about the history of a place, take photographs and bring back some souvenirs for their friends and family. The purpose for a tourist is to have fun, enjoy new places, meet new people and get to know the local culture. Tourists come, look around, take pictures and leave.
A pilgrimage on the other hand is a journey to a sacred place to deepen faith through prayer and experience. Some pilgrimages are to sacred places for the purpose of devotion. Others go to places like Lourdes to ask for assistance in healing. Christian pilgrimages were first made to the Holy Land which has the sites connected with the birth, life, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus.
Sightseers and tourists wander around looking at interesting things. Pilgrims take their time at these places, shrines or events and reflect on what happened there and how it relates to their life. Pilgrims are on a sacred journey where in
all those places they go, they encounter God. It also provides an opportunity and the time to deepen their faith in Christ.
Fr. Brendan and other Holy Spirit parishioners are on a pilgrimage to France, Spain and Portugal and will visit Lourdes, San Sebastian, Fatima and Lisbon. Not everyone can go on a pilgrimage this far away. However, each Sunday we can follow in the footsteps of Christ as we hear the scripture readings at Mass. We come together as a parish community to deepen our faith through the shared experience of prayer. The liturgy calls us to make the Christian life a pilgrimage; a journey with a purpose. The dismissal at the end of Mass is a call to go out and not be just sightseers or tourists in life and wander aimlessly. It is a call to find God in all places; to spend time and reflect on all the people, places and events in our life and to look upon all these as holy and sacred. For the Christian pilgrim the journey is to have a deeper relationship with Christ.