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Holy Land 2015: Installment 2

“As Christ entered Jerusalem he was greeted as a King and Messiah.  Let us adore him and joyfully praise him.”

“Let us run to accompany him as he hastens toward Jerusalem, and imitate those who met him then, not by covering his path with garments, olive branches or palms, but by doing all we can to prostrate ourselves before him by being humble and by trying to live as he would wish.”

Both of these quotes appeared in the Liturgy of the Hours for today and seem apt to describe our adventure.

While many of us were so tired that we slept the whole night through, some are still adapting to the jet lag. The breakfast however was good enough to wake anyone, and the coffee was strong enough to wake the dead.

After we had eaten our fill, we loaded onto the bus and visited the church of the wedding.  Sadly they were closed until noon, making us reschedule our day a bit. On to Mount Tabor!

The mountain was quite a trip.  Our bus was too big to make the turns, and several students recommended we try walking up the mountain, a prospect that was only slightly appealing to the sleep deprived, but then the vans arrived and we made our way to the top.  Once there we heard the story of Deborah (look out for that chisel) and Father read the story of the transfiguration. We took some time to explore the Basilica of the Transfiguration and meditate on our own.  Many took pictures, others took video, still others enjoyed their conversations and freedom to stretch their legs.  A good idea since we decided that we could walk our way back down the mountain.

So much can happen on a walk down a mountain.  Flowers are picked; rocks are stacked; pictures are taken; memories are made.  After we walk our way down the path, imagining what Peter must have been thinking, we got on the bus and headed back to Cana.

We visited the Church of the Wedding and purchased some souvenirs from the local shop.  We heard a lot of information from our guide.  He pointed to the miracle at Cana as the changing of what type of Love God was calling us to give.  First came Noah, water meant Eros love; then came wine at Cana, this signified filial love; finally came Christ’s blood which was Agape love.  Father then read the Gospel story of the wedding and we all went for a tour inside.

From there we grabbed lunch at a nice little spot that served more food than any human should be able to consume.  Sadly it was all heavy food, meat and potatoes, pasta, pita bread.  If we weren’t tired before, we would be after lunch.

We took lots of pictures and moved onto the Basilica of the Annunciation where we said Mass and got a tour from our guide.  Mass was tough for some of us, and a few eyelids were drooping, but the experience was amazing, and Jill’s singing voice was truly appreciated by all.

From there we made our way to the Well of Mary, and the Synagogue where we arrived just as they were locking up the place.  Our guide pulled some strings and let us in.  We heard about how Jesus read from Isaiah and proclaimed the truth of the passage before we made our way back to the hotel.  There most of us stayed in for the afternoon until dinner, simply to rest up and get our strength.  We played a few riveting rounds of Werewolf, a bluffing card game, and Madeline is eerily good at it.

Tonight is the last night at the Old City hotel, so we’re packing up to go to the new hotel tomorrow. We look forward to our future adventures.  Today we hastened toward Jerusalem, tomorrow we head to Galilee and Capernaum.

Yours in Christ,

Matthew Mileski

 

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