Sunday, April 9, 2017

Holy Week and crossing the Valley of Kidron and our new Passover feast



How's your Lent going? We have been so busy I haven't been able to keep up with the blog. The kids have been helping out so much at church with me lately.  Last Sunday marked the start of Passiontide, we had fun putting up the purple clothes over our statues in our church and here at home.




I put up our Holy Week Banner so the little ones can use it to follow along this week.


I also got out our model of Jerusalem kit- which you can make at home this week! You have plenty of time!


I will explain below what we do with this and what we talk about.  Keep reading...



Normally we do NOT take a spring break here but rather save time off for Holy Week. Makes sense right? (we happen to be on week 30 of our 32 week syllabus so we are almost done too).  I wanted to show you what my kids get out and use during this week. Thanks to Catholic Icing and Almond Rod toys and a few talks on Holy week we have attended, and a few good books,  we have really gotten some interesting facts and information to use when using our model of Jerusalem.


Let me introduce to you The Valley of Kidron- is to the east of old Jerusalem runs between Mount Moriah (Temple Mount) and the Mount of Olives. (see the blue river on the right side of my map up there- outside the walls?)



 You have heard in King David's famous Psalm 23 (as he gazed out over Jerusalem's countryside) "Though I walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, I fear no evil for you for you are with me, thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me."  In that Psalm he is referring to the Kidron Valley.  
  Okay, so what makes this so important?  

Jesus crossed the the Kidron Valley several times during Holy Week. It's particularly important because the color of the water always would to turn red in the river (during Passover) that runs in the middle of this steep shadowy valley- there are great shadows thanks to the two mounts that are there. 

King David rightly called it the Valley of Death, as many paschal lambs were being slaughtered, the water was bloody.  We might be talking in the 100,000s sometimes had their blood poured out of the Kidron brook that ran in the temple and into this river. Jews at this time did not touch blood, only their priests did. It was considered sacred.
    
Coincidentally- not so actually (God is not a coincidentally kind of guy, he is perfect), Jesus crosses the Valley of Kidron on his entrance into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. 


The people who laid down palms and honored Jesus were likely the people that were also in route to Jerusalem with him. There were 1000's of Jews descending on Jerusalem. Remember last week he raised Lazarus? And then soon after, He left for Jerusalem, and the roads were crowded and the 100s of travelers along the roads were hearing Him and/or hearing about His miracles. Those inside of Jerusalem had not really experienced Jesus and only had a limited bit of information about him and his ministry.

We have heard Jesus say in the bible, “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how many times I yearned to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her young under her wings, but you were unwilling!"

The people of Jerusalem were terrified when they saw this strange man coming through the gates being honored by these outside Jews with palms and cloaks, riding a colt, calling out, "Hosanna!" Who was this man? Jerusalem quaked- as we read in the gospel. Jerusalem was not ready to accept Jesus as the promised Savior.


Remember Jesus sent some of his reliable disciples out ahead of him to prepare a place for the Passover. Telling them to find the man with the water jar- which at the time is like a man carrying a purse.

It was Jewish law that everyone inside of the walls of Jerusalem had a room pre-prepared to allow for the millions of pilgrim Jews a place to celebrate the meal inside the walls of Jerusalem. They didn't have to sleep inside the walls, just celebrate the meal inside the walls. Every resident of Jerusalem had to meet this requirement so all Jews could be accommodated for this feast.

Later in the week we read about the Last Supper, Jesus' last Passover feast here on earth. He gives us the, new wine with new wine skins, does he not?  You know the words and the breaking of the bread and the chalice of wine being changed into his body and blood. He even told us ahead of time. What he was going to do, ahhh where so many left him, they just didn't get it. {If you aren't Catholic and are reading this, we believe it is Christ's body and blood that we are consuming during mass, we know it is our Lord's body because he tells us in plain words, it's not a figure of speech.}

 During the Passover meal, Jews were required to eat the whole lamb during the meal and have nothing left over. It took 12-15 people to do this (the lambs were of a certain age when sacrificed so it was well known how many adults were always needed for each Passover meal). During the meal 4 blessing cup were consumed. Each representing something different. I think most everyone has heard of the 4th cup. 
Before the final 4th cup was consumed Jesus and his disciples went up to the Mount of Olives, crossing over the Valley of Kidron again! (It was acceptable for a break to occur during the time between the 3rd and 4th cups) Remember what color the river is!

Jesus suffered terribly in the garden of Gethsemane. His arrest then occurred, and He was walked back across the Valley of Kidron.  He was then walked back and forth across Jerusalem to Caiaphas, and the Palace of Herod, and to Fort Antonia. His friends had abandoned him. 


Remember the Passover was still being celebrated throughout Jesus' passion. Paschal lambs were still being slaughtered- I am pretty sure the temple priests were getting tired at this point of lambs. 

John's gospel- is interesting that he likely was a relative of Caiaphas and familiar with the particulars of the temple regulations. He seems to give a liturgical event based account of Jesus' passion and death. They coincide with the lambs hanging in cruciform in the temple, and Jesus hanging on a crucifix at the same EXACT TIME! God's plan is always perfect.  
The way in which the paschal lambs were hung and the way in which the temple priests pierced the hearts of the lambs saying the words, "Behold the blood and water of the lamb of our salvation," gives you chills no? Blood and water would flow out because the heart was contained in a sac which held water. 
Remember St. Longinus piercing Jesus' side, and blood and water flowed out?  He was a gentile Roman soldier, completely ignorant of what was going in the temple at that same exact moment!

Jesus had told his disciples he would "not again drink" and they left for the mount of Olives. During Christ's crucifixion he is offered myrrh to drink- this was a drug the soldiers used to help keep the executed prisoners on their crosses so they wouldn't have to take down the cross re-nail their hands and feet. Apparently the pain and lifting of their body weight to breath, would cause their hands and feet to rip through the nails on occasion. Jesus refused the gall, so he could suffer to the fullest.

 The next time He is offered a drink of wine on a sponge, remember what he says as he accepts it? It is finished, and he offers up His spirit. This was the 4th cup, the "new Passover" or was done!
 There was an earth quake, tombs were opened, the temple curtain was ripped... you have heard the story.

Well, anyway, there are many more details we go over, but those are the highlights, I hope you can enjoy them. Catholic Icing is the bomb and has a beautiful set of printables to go with your Jerusalem set. The blocks are just castle blocks I ordered off Amazon, there are a million different kinds. Also Almond Rod toys has a nice set of Holy Week blocks you can add.



Marian Consecration time is coming up, if you want to coincide it with the 100th anniversary of Fatima.  This time we are doing Fr. Gaitley's, "33 Days to Morning Glory."
  
My other two books are the ones I am working on now, Pope Benedict's, "Jesus of Nazareth, Holy Week" and it's companion study guide. It's a big book, but worth reading.


Have a holy Holy Week!



No comments:

Post a Comment

I reserve the right to delete attacks on my faith and directed at my family or friends, or for any other reason I feel they are inappropriate. Please keep this blog a respectful and happy place.