What would it have been like to follow Jesus through the cities, towns, and countryside on his way to Jerusalem?


I’ve often imagined Jesus walking along with the Twelve Apostles showing up to a few big events along the way, but it’s more likely that Jesus had many disciples, perhaps even hundreds, along the way. We see in Luke 10 that he sends out seventy of them with instructions to visit the towns and peoples on his upcoming itinerary, curing the sick and announcing the coming of the Kingdom.


Recently, I had the opportunity to join part of the National Eucharist Pilgrimage on the Marian Route from Minneapolis to Indianapolis via Wisconsin. The pilgrimage came right through my city, nearly past my house. 


Read more about the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage.


My husband and I arrived early to the church where the pilgrimage was set to arrive. Everyone sat or kneeled in prayer and expectation. Suddenly there was a buzz. “Jesus is coming,” I heard whispered. We all turned to see the procession with Jesus in the Eucharist leading the way. 


After some time in prayer, we all picked up and got on the road. “Let us go on to the neighboring towns, so that I may proclaim the message there also,” I could almost hear Jesus saying (Mark 1:38).


My husband and I were roughly in the middle of the procession of 120 people or so. We couldn’t see my pastor or the monstrance he held with Jesus at the front. A group ahead of us was praying a rosary. Sometimes we’d catch some snippets of it and join in. Most of the time we couldn’t quite hear it, so we continued in our own prayer and conversation.incense and servers


I started imagining the people in the middle of the crowd of seventy-plus disciples following Jesus on the Way. They probably couldn’t hear the teaching Jesus was sharing with the Twelve up in front. What did they talk about on the Way? Maybe they mulled over the sermon Jesus had given at their last stop or hypothesized about where they were headed and what Jesus’ mission was really all about.


As we walked through the neighborhoods with the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage, many people came out of their homes and yards to stop and watch us pass by. A woman in a walker stopped at a corner and knelt on the sidewalk as Jesus passed by.


“As [Jesus] and his disciples and a large crowd were leaving Jericho, Bartimaeus son of Timaeus, a blind beggar, was sitting by the roadside” (Mark 10:46). Bartimaeus kept crying out “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” The people at the back of the group certainly noticed him. Some told him to be quiet. Perhaps they didn’t want to bother the teacher and stop the procession. But then Jesus heard him up at the front. Others in the large crowd of disciples told him, “Take heart; get up, he is calling you” (Mark 10:49).


What joy Bartimaeus must have felt to be called up to the front of the line of disciples, to be able to see and touch and talk to Jesus! He wasted no time in running to the Lord to ask for healing. 


In my own pilgrimage through life as a follower of Jesus, there are some days when I feel spiritually like I’m at the front of the crowd, listening attentively alongside the Twelve. Other days  I feel like I’m dragging behind at the back of the line or getting pulled off track down a side road. There are times when I have felt like Bartimaeus—blind and begging for Jesus to help and so grateful when he calls me to himself. 


It was good to be among the crowd of disciples following Jesus along the Way. It reminded me that I am part of a large community of disciples following the Lord. I am grateful that the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage came to my city, and issued me an invitation: “Take heart; get up, he is calling you.”


Andrea Jackson is a Content Creator and Ministry Consultant at the Evangelical Catholic. The Evangelical Catholic’s mission is to equip Catholics to live out the Great Commission. Learn more.


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