After three days in Jerusalem and Bethlehem we made our way to the beautiful retreat house on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. Everybody enjoyed a swim in the sweet clear water and the next day we were blown away by the amazing archeological site of the first century synagogue at Magdala. The day continued with a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee, a visit to the museum where the remains of a first century fishing boat are on display. Prayers at the Church of the Beatitudes, then after a lunch of St Peter’s fish we went on to celebrate Mass at the church of the Primacy of Peter, visited Tabgha where the loaves and fish were multiplied, then on to view the ruins of Capernaum.
The final day consisted of a visit to Cana to renew wedding vows, a drive up to Mt Tabor and prayers in the Church of the Transfiguration, then on to Nazareth. Lunch and Mass in the Basilica of the Annunciation. The Weaver girls–a family of five daughters sang beautifully at all our Masses and at the Church of the Annunciation sang the lovely carol, “The Angel Gabriel from heaven came…”
Then it was on to dinner and our hotel in Tel Aviv. We took a moonlight dip in the Mediterranean, grabbed a few hours sleep and then made a 2am start for the airport, now a layover in Munich before we cross the water to Charlotte.
One of the most amazing things about a visit to the Holy Land today is the realization that a huge amount of what we see has only been rediscovered and rebuilt within the last 100 years. When the Ottoman Empire fell after the First World War the ancient lands became open to exploration. At the same time the new science of archeology was making headway and now, with huge advances in technology, forensics and scientific studies we have more textual, archeological and scientific evidence than every before from the time of Christ–the vast majority of the findings confirming the historical accuracy of the Biblical record.
It is worth remembering that the theories of the Biblical critics like Bultmann who said, “I believe we an know next to nothing about the historical Jesus” are now totally unfounded. These pessimistic statements were made before all these new discoveries, so a visit to the Holy Land now is an exciting and positive experience–putting us in amazingly close touch to the Lord Jesus and his blessed Mother.