Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Holy Land

This past holy week and Easter I was on pilgrimage to the Holy Land with a group of priest friends from the Casa. It was an awesome journey through the places our Lord walked. What made it more special was that we were there at the time of year we commemorate the most important events of His saving work.

We flew to Tel-Aviv and rented a car and drove up to Galilee. There we stayed for five days under the shadow of the Mount of Beatitudes at Tabgah where Jesus feed the five thousand with loaves and fishes.

Galilee is incredibly beautiful:

We rented boats and went out onto the Sea of Galilee:

We went to Nazareth (Jesus' hometown):

There at the Basilica of the Annunciation we offered mass at the place where the Angel Gabriel declared to Mary that she would conceive and bear a son and that she was to name Him Jesus. If you read the latin on the front of the altar you see the faith filled declaration about the incarnation: Verbum Caro HIC Factum Est - the Word was made flesh HERE!

We also stood on the precipice from which the people of Nazareth tried to throw Jesus . . . but He passed through their midst (Luke 4:30):

We even went to Megiddo (i.e. armegeddon), although we didn't see any apocalyptic visions:

On Wednesday of Holy Week we made the journey "up to Jerusalem". We stayed on the Mount of Olives and walked across the Kidron valley to get into Jerusalem. On Holy Thursday we visited the Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu (cock-crow) where Jesus was imprisoned and Peter denied Him:

On Good Friday we did the Via Crucis (way of the cross) down the Via Dolorosa (the traditional route of Jesus when He carried His cross to Calvary.

On Holy Saturday we spent the night in the Holy Sepulcher (the Church which covers the site of Calvary and the tomb of Jesus)

On Easter Monday and Tuesday we offered mass at the empty tomb and at Calvary hill.

The words of Archbishop Fulton Sheen when speaking about the mass seem appropriate to quote here:

"On the cross our Blessed Lord was looking forward to you, hoping that one day you would be giving yourself to Him at the moment of consecration. Today, in the Mass, that hope our Blessed Lord entertained for you is fulfilled. When you assist at the Mass He expects you now actually to give Him yourself.

Then as the moment of consecration arrives, the priest in obedience to the words of our Lord, "Do this for a commemoration of me," takes bread in his hands and says "This is my body"; and then over the chalice of wine says, "This is the chalice of my blood of the new and eternal testament." He does not consecrate the bread and wine together, but separately.

The separate consecration of the bread and wine is a symbolic representation of the separation of body and blood, and since the Crucifixion entailed that very mystery, Calvary is thus renewed on our altar. But Christ, as has been said, is not alone on our altar; we are with Him. Hence the words of consecration have a double sense; the primary signification of the words is: "This is the Body of Christ; this is the Blood of Christ;" but the secondary signification is "This is my body; this is my blood."

This is Fr. Matthew Kauth, one of our group, offering the mass at the Latin altar on Calvary:

The trip was very spiritually fruitful and was definitely the most meaningful of all my travels!


Anonymous said...

What a beautiful picture of Fr. Matthew Kauth! We miss him here in enjoying all of your pictures and your journey!!

Father Shelton said...

The one with the four priests could be used on a vocations poster. Or on the album cover of priest band!