In God’s Land: Jesus in Prison and Peter Denies

18 09 2019

Basilica of St. Peter in Gallicantu

The band of soldiers and their captain and the officers of the Jews seized Jesus and bound him. First they led him to Annas; for he was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was high priest that year.

Peter, terrified by the servants, denied having anything to do with Jesus. “I do not know him; I do not know what you are saying; I do not know this man!”
And immediately, while he was still speaking, a cock crowed and the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said to him, “Before the cock crows today, you will deny me three times.” He went out and wept bitterly.
On the door of the Church of Peter in Gallicantu (Gallicantu means “cock crow”) commemorates the triple denial of Peter and the bitter tears he wept after the cook crowed.
It is located on the eastern slope of Mount Zion outside the old Jerusalem wall.

Pictures of the exterior of the Basilica of St. Peter in Gallicantu

Art work on the door of St. Peter in Gallicantu


At the entrance is a joint art work of Jews, Muslims and Christians of Jesus at supper with his discipline and telling them that one of you will betray me.

Inside the Basilica of St. Peter in Gallicantu

In inside the first floor of the Church, is the court of the Sanhedrin, with fresco of 12 Sanhedrin judging Jesus on the altar piece.
Jesus’ trial was illegal because courts do not open at night. And no trails should hold during Passover.

Jesus’ Prison

From here we went down below to the house of Caiaphas proper and the dungeon below. Prisoners arrested at night where usually thrown into the dungeon till the morning when trial could hold. The prisoners, hand tied, were dropped down through a hole and then they are fastened facing the wall with hooks. The prison was discovered accidentally when the hammer of a construction worker dropped accidentally and fell through a hole in the ground.

The hole from which Jesus bound hands and feet was let down into the dungeon

We read the psalm (88) here and touched the wall where Jesus was bound till morning. Next, we climbed back up, and looking at the purity bath, or ritual baths, or micvah which Caiaphas had in his home. This practice has been adopted by the Muslims also.

Where Peter denied Jesus

We then went to where Peter denied Christ three times, outside, at the courtyard. There was a statue of him with the two maids.

The stairs used by Jesus to go from the upper room to gethsemane


From this balcony we could see the garden of Olives and Gethsemane
We also saw the stairs that Jesus used to go to from the Cenacle across the Kidron valley to the Garden of Gethsemane. Also visible from there was the east end of the temple, said to be the spot on which King David was standing when he saw a naked woman bathing and committed adultery with her and subsequently murder.
There also he saw the angel of God standing by the dome of the rock, (rock of Moriah) ready to destroy the city of Jerusalem, and he pleaded with angel to spare the city and kill him instead.
The angels said to him “Go to the Mount and make a sacrifice.”
After he had made the sacrifice, he said to the angle, “Let me build you a temple here. But the Lord said no, since his hands were stained with blood, and told him that his son, Solomon will build the temple.

On our way to the Basilica of Dormition of Mary

After we left the Basilica of Peter in Gallicantu we went to the Church of Dormition of Mary located in the highest point on Mount Zion, he location is identified in Christian tradition as the place where the Virgin Mary died — or “fell asleep”, as the name suggests. Christian sources say that Mary was probably 50 years old when she died. There are claims that Mary died in Ephesus, Turkey, but this is not supported by the early Christians. According to St. John Damascene, “St Juvenal, Bishop of Jerusalem, at the Council of Chalcedon [AD 451], made known to the Emperor Marcian and Pulcheria, who wished to possess the body of the Mother of God, that Mary died in the presence of all the apostles, but that her tomb, when opened, upon the request of St Thomas [who arrived late], was found empty; wherefrom the apostles concluded that the body was taken up to heaven.”

Pictures of the exterior and interior of the Basilca of the Dormition of Mary

On the ground floor of the Church, there is a life size statue of Mary sleeping.

Painting above the statue of Mary sleeping: Jesus caring for Mary in Heaven
Painting on the basilica dome: Mary cared for Jesus on earth

On the mosaic above the statue of our lady Dormition, there are paintings of six women in the Old Testament.

We said the Hail Mary Six times besides the statue of sleeping Mary.
There were more details we could have missed. The painting on the dome in the basilica proper was Mary caring for Jesus which represents the humanity of Jesus. While the painting on the dome above the sleeping statue showed Jesus caring for Mary in heaven which represents the divinity of Jesus.

We heard Mass at the Basilica of Dormition of Mary

It was a great experience to celebrate Mass at the place where Mary the Mother of Jesus breathed her last. We ask her to intercede for us who still remain her till we go to join her in her in heaven where she is.

Pictures after the Mass





In God’s Land: Gethsemane, Jesus’ Agony

16 09 2019

“Father, remove this cup from me, but not my will but thine be done.”
When God’s appointed time comes to save mankind from the slavery of sin, we contemplate Jesus Christ in Gethsemane, suffering in agony to the point of sweating blood (cf. Lk 22:44). He spontaneously and unconditionally accepts the sacrifice which the Father is asking of him.
Ancient information located the grotto of Gethsemane, in the Kidron Valley, where Jesus went with his disciple, and where he was arrested. Excavations which took place after a flooding revealed that that place was previously an olive press with olive gardens and a cistern. In 4 century AD, a byzantine rock church was built there and later rebuilt in the 6th. Also several tombs were excavated near by witnessing to the ancient tradition of burying the dead near holy places.

The Garden of Olives


The Church of Gethsemane has 16 domes because 16 nations donated to rebuild this church. Gethsemane was an olive oil press. Inside the garden, 8 of the trees here still dates to the time of Jesus. It was a garden or orchard where there was an oil-press (this is the meaning of the name Gethsemane), and it was outside the city walls of Jerusalem, to the east of the city, on the way to Bethany.

Pictures of the Garden of Olives

The Church of Gethsemane

Inside the Church of Gethsemane, the blue-ish purple color of the stained glass windows helps pilgrims pray. The Church faces the golden or beautiful gate where Peter healed the blind man. It has a deer on the roof. The deer is on the dome is the symbol of psalm, like a deer thirsts for water so my soul is thirsts for the living God. In the year 2009, Benedict V16 celebrated Mass in the olive garden across and the President of Israel, Netanyahu, attended

Pictures of Church of Gethsemane

The stone on which our lord sweated blood

Here we are touching the stone on which Jesus sweated blood while he was praying

Mary’s Empty Tomb

Next we went to see the empty tomb of the Blessed Virgin Mary, where she was assumed body and soul into heaven. When Mary passed away, they laid her in-corrupt body at Mount Zion for nine days. After, they took her to the burial grounds of Gethsemane and buried her. Jews buried their dead facing the temple and thus our Lady’s tomb faced the temple.
Three days later, they found the tomb empty.
According to archeologist, Niccacci, there was an ancient text that was read during the feast of Assumption which described the location of Mary’s tomb as part of the Jewish burial ground or (Necropolis)
In 1959, excavations revealed that the Mary’s empty tomb was on a burial ground, there was a happy coincidence between this literature and archaeological findings. Early Jewish Christians had isolated the tomb from the rest of the tombs and preserved it with veneration. Two churches, one upon another were built by the Byzantines in the 5th century BC.
We celebrated Mass at the Grotto of Gethsemane (Where Jesus was arrested, betrayed by Judas with a kiss)

Pictures of the Empty Tomb of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Inside Mary’s tomb

Mass at Gethsemane

A place of agony, a place of our incapacity to keep close to our lord in prayer! We ask God to teach us to abandon our selves to the will of God. Help us to always do the will of God

Church of the Pater Noster

Next, leaving Gethsemane we went to the Pater noster Church.
It’s the place where our lord thought the disciples the prayer, Pater Nostra. It’s also here that our lord ascended into heaven. It’s also here that our lord wept over Jerusalem.
We had to pay money to enter because it is controlled by Muslims. When Saladin conquered, he converted it to a business, Muslim businessman pay to hire it and charge money from Christian pilgrims.

Pictures of the Church of the Pater Noster

The Church of Pater Noster today has the arch of the crusader.
Our Lord loved the Mount of Olives because it over looked the city of Jerusalem. It was from the Mount of Olives that Jesus ascended into heaven. It was also here that our lord wept over Jerusalem. The Mount has numerous caves and it is in one of them that Jesus taught his disciples the “Our lord’s prayer” or the “Pater Noster” as it is called in Latin. The Church of the Pater Noster stand on the Mount of Olive, astride one of the caves in which ancient tradition says Jesus taught this prayer per excellence.
It was built under the direction of Constantine’s mother Helena in the early 4th century. The church survived intact until it was destroyed by Persians in 614.
In the year 1875, a young princess, Princess Aurelia Bossi came to the Holy land and saw Muslims selling the remaining stones of the 4th-century church for tombstones, she paid them off and acquired the land, and handed it to the French government. She is buried here as a mark of gratitude for recovering this place from the Muslims.
In the Church, the Pater Noster is written in 173 languages. There’s also a piece of mosaic left over from the basilica built by St. Helena

Yes, it is a cave, winter is cold, and our Lord had no money to pay for hotels, so he and his disciples gathered in caves they didn’t have heating. Here, in this cave, Jesus spoke about the end and about his passion and death. When he finished, one of his disciples asked him, Lord teach us to Pray
Here we held hands and sang the Pater Noster in English, Philippines and Igbo.

We saw the plaque in Samaritan. They were part of the Jews, but were excommunicated because they mingled with Babylon. Today, they (Samaritans) still intermarry between themselves and thus are dying out. There are just only 760 Samaritans remaining in the world (380 in Jerusalem and 380 in Shecem) and many of them are retarded.

Ascension

Next we went to the Chapel of Ascension
There are two foot prints of the Lord which he left as he was lifted up to heaven chiseled into a rock but one has been removed and put in the dome of the Rock. From here our lord Ascended to Heaven

Pictures of our visit to the Chapel of Ascension

Church of Dominos Flevit. Where our lord wept over Jerusalem.


Next we climbed further up to the Church of Dominos Flevit, this was where Christ wept, crying:
O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, killing the prophets and stoning those who are sent to you! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not! – – Matthew 23:37
Jerusalem, a city that Jesus loved so much, that never returned the love of God because they have not learned how to be friends of God. We become God’s friends through prayer. When we persevere in prayer, even if it is repeating over and over, Jesus I love you.
As St. Augustine says, “It must burn in you that which you want to ignite in others.” Jesus was burning with sacrificial love for Jerusalem, wishing to heal her and teach her the way of live but she wouldn’t listen.
Planted in front of the Church was the tree of the crown of thorns

The Church of Dominus Flevit overlooks today the dome of the rock and the Alaska mosque, because the prophesy of Jesus was fulfilled in the year AD 70 when Jerusalem was destroyed, and the temple burnt down, such that there was no one stone left upon another.

That is the focus of the trouble between the Jews and the Muslims. The Muslims claim that the rock enclosed by the dome is the place where Prophet Mohammed ascended. But yet the Temple Mount was the holy place of the Jews many centuries before the birth of Prophet Mohammed, the founder of Islam. King Solomon constructed the first temple in the very place that the dome of the rock is today in 900 B.C, but it was destroyed by the Babylonians. Second temple was built by Herod 20 B.C. This destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD. Mohammed was born in 22 April, 571 AD

To enter the Al-aqsa mosque and the temple mount is free but there was a time it cost ten dollars per visit. They stopped collecting money after the second intifada which started when the then Israeli President, Ariel Sharon entered the Al-aqsa mosque. As we stood looking at Jerusalem and the temple mount from the Church of Dominus Flevit, time for the Muslim prayers arrived and at once powerful microphones started blasting out Islamic prayer call to prayers.

Pictures of Dominus Flevit





In God’s Land: Where Jesus Resurrected

15 09 2019

We continue on the footprints of Christ, today we visited the Church of the Holy Sepulcher also called the Church of the Resurrection, located in the Christian quarters of the old Jerusalem.

Church of the Resurrection or Church of the Holy Sepulcher

The church contains the two holiest sites in Christianity: the site where Jesus of Nazareth was crucified, at a place known as Calvary or Golgotha, and Jesus’ empty tomb, where he was buried and resurrected. Archeological excavations revealed that the area was a quarry in the years since seventh century BC and in first BC and leveled into a garden. In this garden two tomb was carved, one a single burial with an arch and the other, multiple burial chamber. The single burial chamber was built by Joseph Arimathea as the tomb of Christ.

The place remained a garden till 135 AD when Emperor Adrian who wanted to exterminate Christianity expanded Jerusalem to encompass Golgotha, and built a shrine to Jupiter directly above tomb of Christ and a shine to Adonis over Calvary, the spot of the crucifixion, in attempt to conceal them from the flock of pilgrims who started going to venerate the site after the death and resurrection of Christ. Adrian’s actions inadvertently helped preserve the site in tact till 325 when Constantine came and built a Byzantine basilica over the tomb.
The Church of the Holy Sepulcher has a long history, but today, control of the church itself is shared among several Christian denominations and two Muslim families that open the door of the Sepulcher every morning by 5 am. They knock at the gate of the Church and the orthodox priest opens the window and peeps to be sure that it is the representatives of the two families, he then hands them a ladder so they can climb and open the door with keys. The door is opened by 5.30 am till 9 p.m daily. We arrived by 6 am to say Mass at the Chapel of Crucifixion next to the Chapel of Calvary.

Stone of Anointing


Facing the door of the Church is a Stone of Unction or Anointing, flanked by tall candlesticks and adorned with a row of hanging votive lamps.

This was the stone slab on which Christ’s body was prepared for burial, is a reminder of the devout care lavished on the body of Jesus by Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus after they had taken it down from the Cross. We stopped to kiss the stone and people brought out their holy objects and rosaries to rub on the stone to absorb its sanctity.

Pictures of kissing the stone of Unction

Stone of Anointing

Chapel of Crucifixion


Next, we climbed the narrow steps to Calvary, this site of the crucifixion. There are two chapels almost adjacent to one another. One is the Chapel of Nailing of the Cross and the other is the Chapel of Crucifixion. Enclosed under the alter of the Chapel of Crucifixion is the Rock of Crucifixion on which the Holy Cross of Jesus stood. Pilgrims wait in line to kneel and kiss the stone and rob holy objects on it. We celebrated Mass at the Chapel of Crucifixion.

Kissing the Rock of Crucifixion

Pictures of the Mass at the Chapel of Nailing of the Cross

Adam’s Chapel

Directly below the Chapel of Crucifixion, stand’s the Adam’s Chapel. There is a crack in the rock displayed under glass – it shows how the rock was broken by the earthquake accompanying Jesus’ death. The tradition is that his blood dripped down through that crack to fall upon Adam’s grave, which was believed to have been within the hill of Golgotha (the place of the skull – i.e. Adam’s skull); this is why directly below the altar with the crucifix there is the Chapel of Adam

The Holy Sepulcher (the tomb of Jesus and where he resurrected)

After the Mass, we joined a long queue of pilgrims waiting to enter the tomb of Christ, the Holy Sepulcher itself, the Place of the resurrection. Picture are not allowed inside the tomb so you wont see me kissing the slab on which Christ resurrected

The rock slab from which Christ Resurrected

Next we went to the Chapel of finding of the true Cross all thanks to St. Helena

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The Chapel of the Finding of the Holy Cross.

According to tradition it was where the Cross of Christ was rediscovered by St. Helena, the mother of the Emperor Constantine, who journeyed to Jerusalem shortly before she died, in approximately 327 AD. St. Ambrose tells the story in words of great poetic force. “Helena arrived and began to visit the holy places, and the Spirit inspired her to seek out the wood of the Cross. She turned her steps to Calvary, and there she said: ‘Here is the battleground, but where is the victor’s trophy? I seek for the banner of salvation and do not find it. Do I sit on a throne, while the Cross of the Lord is buried in the dust? Am I surrounded by gold, and the triumph of Christ by rubble? […] I see that you have done everything possible, O devil, to bury the sword by which you were brought to naught. But Isaac cleared the wells that had been blocked up by foreign invaders, and would not allow the water to remain hidden. Let the ruins give way, then, so that life may appear; let the sword flash forth by which the real Goliath was beheaded. […] What have you achieved, devil, by hiding the wood, save to be defeated once again? You were defeated by Mary, who bore the conqueror; without losing her virginity she gave birth to him who conquered you by being crucified and subjugated you by dying. Today too you will be defeated, so that a woman will lay bare your tricks. She, the holy Mother of God, bore our Lord in her womb; I shall seek out his Cross. She showed that he had been born; I shall show that he has risen from the dead.’”

The story goes on to tell how three crosses were discovered at the bottom of an ancient water-tank, which was transformed into what is now the Chapel of the Finding of the Cross. The Cross of Christ was recognized by the remains of the titulus, the notice that Pilate had ordered to be placed on the Cross; a fragment of this is preserved in the Basilica of the Holy Cross in Rome. Some nails were also found; one of these was wrought into the iron crown of the Holy Roman Emperors, now in Monza, Italy; a second is venerated in the Duomo of Milan, and a third is preserved in Rome.

Other Pictures in the Holy sepulcher





In God’s Land: Capernaum, the town of Jesus

11 09 2019

Today we visited the Capernaum, the town of Jesus. All four gospels report that Jesus visited Capernaum and often attended the synagogue there: In Matthew 4:23, after Herod killed John the Baptist, Jesus left Nazareth and settled in Capernaum. Mark 1:21-28 describes Jesus teaching and healing in the synagogue at Capernaum

“Now when Jesus heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew into Galilee; and leaving Nazareth he went and dwelt in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, that what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled:

The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, toward the sea, across the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles!

The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and for those who sat in the region and shadow of death light has dawned.

From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”… Matthew 4:14–15

Jesus chose Capernaum because it was the largest city, the richest city, a port city, where everyone has to come. Syrians, Jews, Arabs all used to pass through Capernaum during their travels and the Lord wanted these nations to hear his teachings.

Capernaum had a customs-house and a detachment of Roman soldiers headed by a centurion, a particular centurion who Jesus praised: “I tell you nowhere in Israel have I seen such faith.”

 The praise came when the centurion whose servant was sick asked Jesus to heal his servant, and Jesus said, “I will come.” But the centurion, said, “Lord, I have many men under my authority, I say to one go, and he goes and to another, come and he comes. So just say the word and my servant will be healed.”

 Jesus was moved to praise his act of faith, which we repeat every time we go to Mass.

At the beginning of the Arab period, in the seventh century, the Capernaum, a Christian city went into decline. Two hundred years later it was completely deserted; the buildings collapsed, the area became a heap of ruins, and little by little these were buried. The same earth that hid the location of Capernaum preserved it intact until the nineteenth and twentieth century’s, when the Custody of the Holy Land acquired the property and set in motion the first archaeological excavations.

It’s a two hour drive from Jerusalem and Abu Ghosh, where the Saxum visitors’ center is located.

It was in Capernaum that Jesus performed the following:

1. Healing the royal official’s son in Capernaum in John 4:46-54.

2. Feeding the 5000 in John 6:5-14.

3. Jesus walking on water in John 6:16-24.

4. Miraculous catch of fish.  Peter caught 153 fishes when he obeyed the Lord, “Cast your net on the right side of the boat”

5. The healing of the paralytic let down through the roof

6. Preached the Beatitudes

7. It was also here that Jesus came after his resurrection, and confirmed Peter as the prince of the Apostles. That day, standing by the shores of the sea of Galilee, but they did not recognize him, and when he asked them if they had caught anything, they said no, he told them to throw their nets on the right side, and they did, then John said, “It’s the Lord, and Peter jumped into the sea. When they came to shore, Jesus had prepared breakfast of fish. After breakfast, he asked Peter, do you love me three times and told him to feed my sheep.

8. The cure of the woman with the hemorrhage

9. The cure of the man with the withered hand

10.  The raising to life of Jairus’ daughter

11. The paying of the Temple tax with a coin found in a fish’s mouth

At Capernaum

1st Century Synagogue where Jesus prayed
Inside the St. Peter’s Church
Peter’s house under the Octagonal St Peter’s Church
A look at the room of Jesus inside St Peter’s house
Sea of Galilee can be seen from the home of St. peter
Peter was a fisher man who lived near the sea
Jesus used to get into Peter boat to preach to the crowd

The house of Peter in Capernaum

Peter welcomed Jesus into his home at Capernaum

While Jesus was at Capernaum, he stayed at the house of Peter his apostle. From there, he carried out his ministry: teaching in the synagogue, and healing the sick. The healing of the paralytic let down through the roof actually took place inside, in one room in Peter’s house. When Capernaum went into ruins, exact location of Peter’s house was also uncertain until 25 years ago, when Italian archeologist uncovered the remnants of a humble house buried beneath the remains of an octagonal Byzantine martyrium church. The remnant dated to the first century B.C.

But what was surprising and perhaps one of the strongest proofs of authenticity that this was Peter’s house was what happened to this house from the first century AD, (that is after the death of Christ). They discovered that the use of this particular house completely changed from a normal residence to a church.

The stone oil jars replaced cooking pots and in one room in particular, the walls were plastered ceiling to wall, quite unusual for a home in those days. Further surprise: as the years went by, the plastered room was renovated and converted into the central hall of a rudimentary church.

The room’s old stone walls were buttressed by a newly built two-story arch that, in turn, supported a new stone roof. The room was even re-plastered and painted over with floral and geometric designs of various colors and more than a hundred graffiti were scratched into the plastered walls. Most of the inscriptions saying things like “Lord Jesus Christ help thy servant” or “Christ have mercy.” They are written in Greek, Syriac or Hebrew and are sometimes accompanied by etchings of small crosses or, in one case, a boat.

This house was used like this for more than 300 years before it was finally replaced in the fifth century by a well-built octagonal martyrium church. Octagonal buildings were built to commemorate very important sites.

Still the inner sanctum of the octagonal building was built directly above the remains of the very room of the first-century house that had the plastered wall and graffiti’s. What modest home, could have a room venerated, turned into a church, with prayers inscription scratched in on the walls, and all subsequent churches built on its foundation if it not for the fact that this was the room of the Son of God.

Ist Century Synagogue at Capernaum close to Peter’s house, where Jesus went to pray
Ist Century Synagogue at Capernaum close to Peter’s house, where Jesus went to pray
Peter’s house

Jesus Preached the Beatitudes in Capahnaum

Next we visited the place where Jesus preached the nine Beatitudes.

On a hill overlooking the Sea of Galilee, a sanctuary commemorates the place where Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount, or the Beatitudes.  

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy…” Matthew 5:3–12 

We saw that the slopes of the surrounding mountains rises up from the lakeside forming a natural amphitheatre, such that the wind coming from the sea of Galilee could carry the words of Christ to people sitting two or three football fields away. As they listened to Christ, it was the beginning of a new dawn for mankind.

The Beatitudes present a sort of veiled interior biography of Jesus, a kind of portrait of his figure. He who has no place to lay his head is truly poor; he who can say, ‘Come to me for I am meek and lowly in heart’ is truly meek; he is the one who is pure of heart and so unceasingly beholds God. He is the peacemaker; he is the one who suffers for God’s sake. The Beatitudes display the mystery of Christ himself, and they call us into communion with him.”

After the Beatitudes, Jesus compares believers to the salt of the earth and the light of the world. St. John Chrysostom brings out the connection between the two passages as follows: “Those who are meek, modest, and merciful and just, do not keep these virtues for their own profit alone, but pour them out like clear torrents for the benefit of others.

The Beatitudes are a portrait of Jesus.

On the road to the Church of the Beatitudes in Capernaum

Inside the Church of Beatitudes in Caphanaum

Mass at the Church of Beatitudes in Capernaum

We celebrated the Mass on a little canopy outside the gardens in front of the Church of Beatitudes.

Jesus multiplied 5 loaves to feed 5000 people in Capernaum

Tabgha is a zone three kilometers to the west of Capernaum

In Tabgha, we venerated the rock upon which the Lord placed five loaves and two fish, with which he fed the multitudes. Early Christians identified Tabgha as the place where this miracle had been worked and Archaeological work confirmed the accuracy of the tradition that had been handed down, by bringing to light the remains of the altar, the venerable rock which showed that numerous fragments had been removed from it, and a mosaic of a basket of loaves flanked by two fishes.

In the floor a large part of the original mosaic flooring is preserved, with a geometric design in the aisles and nave, and richly figured in the two halves of the transept, showing various kinds of birds and plants found around Lake Gennesaret.

Christ intended to use this Miracle as his opening to initiate his discussion about the True bread of life, pre-figuration of the Eucharist

“Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of man will give to you; for on him has God the Father set his seal.”

So begins the discourse about the Bread of Life, in which our Lord reveals the mystery of the Eucharist. It is so rich that it is considered “the sum and summary of our Faith.”

 “The sacrament of charity, the Holy Eucharist is the gift that Jesus Christ makes of himself, thus revealing to us God’s infinite love for every man and woman.”

In the Mass, the holy Sacrifice of the Altar, an offering of infinite value, which perpetuates the work of the redemption in us,  Jesus our Lord comes to meet us, becoming really, truly, substantially present: his Body, his Blood, his Soul and his Divinity.

Inside the Church of the Multiplication of Loaves at Capernaum

Church of the Primacy of Peter

Next we went to the spot where Jesus asked Peter three times “Do you love me?”

“When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.” …John 21:15

Why did Jesus ask Peter three times “Do you love me?” Catholic believe that here he made Peter the prince of the Apostles at Capernaum. The spot where this happen is now a Church called the Church of the primacy of Peter. Behind the Church is the sea of Galilee

Outside the Church of the Primacy of Peter at Capernaum

Inside the Church of the Primacy of Peter at Capernaum

We venerated the rock on which Christian tradition say was the rock on which Jesus place the breakfast before his Apostles. The rock is known as Mensa Christi and it was right in front of the alter in the Church of the Primacy of peter

Jesus walked on the of the sea of Galilee Capernaum

Next we went for a boat ride in the Sea of Galilee. It was on this lake that Jesus walked on water.

“Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but by this time the boat, battered by the waves, was far from the land, for the wind was against them.  And early in the morning he came walking toward them on the sea.  But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them and said, “Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.”… Matthew 14:22-33 Sea of Galilee is also called Lake of Genesaret or Lake Tiberias

Returning from the sea of Galilee in Capernaum





In God’s Land: Lazarus’ Tomb, Mount of Temptation and Masada

8 09 2019

Bethany

We had early breakfast, by 6.30am to be precise, so we can leave on time for Bethany. Bethany is in the Palestinian territory. So we had to take our passports again. As we left the great city of Jerusalem, we began descending into the rift valley towards Bethany, soon on both sides huge expanse of desert and Sand Mountains, the mere sight of which is sufficient to make you thirsty. We could see Bedouins living in tents and very primitive conditions. Soon we caught sight of the Dead Sea

Dead Sea is 80km long and 400 meters, it is considered concentrated salt. What this means is that if you take a cupful of Dead Sea water and put a spoon of salt in and stir, the salt cannot dissolve, because water is already saturated.

 Sodom and Gomorrah is on South end of the Dead Sea. Along the coast of the Dead Sea, we could see Israeli Kibbutz (farming communities) with stretches of green house farms and miles and miles of date palms, a testament to the industrious people who can make even the desert fertile.

Bethany: Church of St. Lazarus

We arrived at the West bank town of al-Eizariya, and drove to the St. Lazarus Catholic Church, built on the home of Maria, Lazarus and Martha. The Lord Jesus Christ came here many times, friends of Martha, Mary and Lazarus.

Luke 10:38-42 Jesus Visits Martha and Mary

“Now, as they went on their way, he entered a certain village, where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home.  She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to what he was saying.  But Martha was distracted by her many tasks; so she came to him and asked, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help me.”  But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing.[a] Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.”

Entering Church of St. Lazarus in Bethany

During Mass at side chapel beside the St. Lazarus Catholic Church: Bethany

After Mass we entered the main Church to view the interior

Tomb of Lazarus

The Tomb of Lazarus

“Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have … to Jesus, “Lord, if you would have been here, my brother wouldn’t have died…John 11:21

Climbing a little hill from the St. Lazarus Church is the tomb of Lazarus

And Jesus Wept

Jesus wept where when heard that his friend was dead. Jesus gave life to Lazarus to foreshadow our resurrection. We ask him to give us the love he gave to Lazarus and Mary and Martha