Pope Francis concluded his visit to the Holy Land on Monday by celebrating Mass in the Upper Room, the site where Jesus celebrated the final Passover (the "Last Supper") with his apostles before the Crucifixion. The Upper Room is also the place where he appeared to the Eleven after he rose from the “How much love and goodness has flowed from the Upper Room! How much charity has gone forth from here, like a river from its source, beginning as a stream and then expanding and becoming a great torrent,”dead, and where the Holy Spirit is believed to have descended from Heaven on the apostles and the Blessed Virgin Mary on the Day of Pentecost. “It is a great gift that the Lord has given us by bringing us together here in the Upper Room for the celebration of the Eucharist,” the Pope reflected. “Here, where Jesus shared the Last Supper with the apostles; where, after his resurrection, he appeared in their midst; where the Holy Spirit descended with power upon Mary and the disciples. Here the Church was born, and was born to go forth.”
In commemorating the importance of one of Christianity's most significant and holy places, Pope Francis celebrated the Mass of the Holy Spirit with the bishops of the Holy Land, which is sometimes called a "Red Mass," because the celebrants and concelebrants of a Mass of the Holy Spirit always wear red vestments, the traditional color representing the fire of the Holy Spirit. “The Church, in her going forth, preserves the memory of what took place here; the Spirit, the Paraclete, reminds her of every word and every action, and reveals their true meaning.” The Holy Father went on to recall how Jesus washed the feet of the disciples as the ultimate act of service and love, urging them to imitate one another. The Pope also remembered how the very first Eucharist was celebrated on the night before Jesus Christ suffered and died. “In every Eucharistic celebration Jesus offers himself for us to the Father, so that we too can be united with him, offering God our lives, our joys, and our sorrows...offering everything as a spiritual sacrifice,” the Pontiff reminded the bishops. “How much love and goodness has flowed from the Upper Room! How much charity has gone forth from here, like a river from its source, beginning as a stream and then expanding and becoming a great torrent,” he said. “All the saints drew from this source; and hence the great river of the Church’s holiness continues to flow: from the Heart of Christ, from the Eucharist and from the Holy Spirit.”
The Pope also visited and prayed Monday at the Western Wall, which is the last surviving portion of the final temple that stood in Jerusalem as the center of worship for the Jewish people. The temple was destroyed by invading Roman armies during the First Jewish Revolt of 70 A.D., and its remaining wall is Judaism's holiest site.