Pilgrimages symbolize the experience of the homo viator who sets out, as soon as he leaves the maternal womb, on his journey through the time and space of his existence. This is the fundamental experience of Israel which is marching towards the promised land of salvation and of full freedom; the experience of Christ who rose to heaven from the land of Jerusalem, thus opening the way towards the Father; the experience of the Church which moves on through history towards the heavenly Jerusalem; the experience of the whole humankind which tends towards hope and fullness.
Every pilgrim should confess: “By the grace of God, I am a human person and a Christian; by my actions, a great sinner; by my condition as a pilgrim without a roof, of the lowliest species that goes wandering from place to place. My possessions are a sack on my shoulders with a bit of dry bread and a Holy Bible that I carry under my shirt. No other thing do I have”.
The Word of God and the Eucharist accompany us in this pilgrimage towards the heavenly Jerusalem, of which shrines are a visible and living sign. When we will reach it, the gates of the Kingdom will open, we will abandon the traveling attire and the staff of the pilgrim and we shall enter our house definitively “to stay with the Lord for ever”. There he will be in our midst as “the one who serves” and he will share our meal, side by side with us.