Agony in the Garden, Prayer at Western Wall, Kibbutz Lunch, Upper Room, Bishop of Jerusalem and more

by Steve Ray on September 7, 2014

Meeting with Bishop of Jerusalem

Another astounding day. We have to admit that we love the emptiness – 90% of groups canceled their trips to the Holy Land so we have no lines, no crowds, no pushing and shoving. My people were smart to trust me. It is quiet and safe and we are having a great time – the Holy Land is ours!

I hope you enjoy today’s video starting with a moving Mass at Gethsemane. Did you know that it was here that Jesus suffered more than he did on the cross? Then to the Western Wall to pray at the holiest place for Jews and the place dearly loved by Jesus. 

From there to lunch at a Jewish kibbutz (delicious, by the way) and then to Mount Zion to visit the Dormition of Mary and the Upper Room. Why did Luke tell us there were about 120 “names” in the Upper Rome? If you were with us you would know why :-)

We had time for confessions, a deacon’s meeting, a Catholic Bible software demonstration ( and then we went to meet the Bishop of Jerusalem – wonderful. Then dinner and bed.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Tom Govern September 7, 2014 at 10:20 PM

God bless all the pilgrims!

Julie Schram September 8, 2014 at 3:05 PM

Hey Pilgrims, I heard you this morning on KVSS Radio. I know that you all had a wonderful pilgrimage. Safe travel home!

Angie March 23, 2015 at 10:08 AM

HI Steve,
I also left you a message on your Facebook page. I am trying to find a reference for someone as to the significance of the 120 in the Upper Room. In your Gospel of John Cd talk, you state that it was common knowledge to the Jews that you needed 120 to start a new community with its own synagogue. Where would be a good reference to point this person to, to show them this?

STEVE RAY HERE: The information is not in my book St. John’s Gospel but in my Bible Study on Acts ( Here is the paragraph:

8. In Acts 1:12, the disciples return to Jerusalem to wait in an upper room for “the promise of the Father.” Luke 22:7–13 records Jesus’ instructions to Peter and John to make ready an upper room in which to celebrate the Passover. Luke 22:14–20 describes Jesus’ institution of the Eucharist, which takes place in the upper room. In Acts 1:15, Luke records that the company of persons in the upper room was “in all about a hundred and twenty.” The number 120 is significant in early Jewish tradition because that’s the minimum number of people required for a new community. By mentioning this detail, Luke is calling attention to the fact that the Church is a new community with its own religious council. Paragraph 726 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches: “At the end of this mission of the Spirit, Mary became the Woman, the new Eve (‘mother of the living’), the mother of the ‘whole Christ.’ As such, she was present with the Twelve, who ‘with one accord devoted themselves to prayer’ at the dawn of the ‘end time’ which the Spirit was to inaugurate on the morning of Pentecost with the manifestation of the Church.” Paragraph 2617 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches: “Mary’s prayer is revealed to us at the dawning of the fullness of time. Before the Incarnation of the Son of God, and before the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, her prayer cooperates in a unique way with the Father’s plan of loving kindness: at the Annunciation, for Christ’s conception; at Pentecost, for the formation of the Church, his Body.”

Ray, S. K. (2007). The Acts of the Apostles. (J. Phelps, Ed.). Charlotte, NC: Catholic Scripture Study International.

Here is the quote from the Mishna – first century Jewish tradition. If a group wants to start a new community, there were a minimum number that were needed to have a new community with their own court. What is the Church? It is a new community. In Acts it does not say 120 people were in the upper room. It says “120 names” as though they were names in a list to prove the believers in the Upper Room had now a quorum to break off and start their own town, community, the Church:

Q And how many residents must there be in a town so that it may be suitable for a sanhedrin?
R One hundred and twenty.

Neusner, J. (1988). The Mishnah : A new translation (p. 585). New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

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