It is from here that comes the burning wind which parches the land of Judea, as the breath of evil sterilizes the soul. The ancient Jews saw in this desert the region of sin. The neighborhood of the Dead Sea evoked in their minds the thought of God’s avenging visitations, and this is the reason why every year they drove into this desert the scapegoat, laden with the sins of Israel. The beast was solemnly cursed before the altar, driven into the valley of Kedron, where it was cast down into the deep abyss as a sacrifice for the people.

Jesus, as He looks in this direction from the Cross, cannot fail to reflect that He is this beast accursed, driven this very day out of the city, shut out from the world, driven forth to die, humbly and silently allowing Himself to be counted among the goats.  –Father A.G. Sertillanges ‘What Jesus Saw From the Cross’



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