One of the toughest tasks for us while reading Scripture is to picture ourselves in a Gospel setting; when Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount, how could thousands of people have heard Him preach? What did the sun look like and the air feel like? What do the waves of the Sea of Galilee sound like? Well, that all became a little easier for us pilgrims.
Today, we left our beds on the Mount of Beatitudes and took a boat across the Sea of Galilee. (Click here for Fr. Valentine’s reflection.)
And when Jesus said, “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life,” I always wondered: what did that place look like? Today, we celebrated Mass there, over the House of St. Peter in Capernaum (see John 6; see photos). I feel like I am living the Gospels.
During Mass, our prayers were accompanied by many sniffles and the sound of hands brushing away tears. The Holy Spirit is working so powerfully among us here, teaching us each a separate, necessary, and beautiful lesson at every holy site. As a Catholic, to consume the Holy Eucharist at the very place where Jesus preached the Bread of Life Discourse was second only to Heaven. I feel blessed beyond words can describe.
We also visited the place where five thousand men who were fed by Jesus have witnessed to their descendents where it was that He multiplied the loaves and fishes (see Matthew 14). Then, we visited the church built over the Mensa Christi – the rock where Jesus is said to have cooked breakfast for His friends after his resurrection (see John 21). There, Jesus asked Peter three times, “Do you love me?”
This all made today a time during which we were all fed by the Lord Jesus. In His Body and Blood, by His Word, during a healing service at the shores of the Sea of Galilee, and in our souls by experiencing the places where He comforts us (“Do not be afraid”) and challenges us (“Do you also want to leave?” “Do you love me?”).
The final journey of the day for many of us was a mile-and-a-half walk along the Sea of Galilee in silence.
Take this blog and these photographs in your mind and spirit. As we offer your intentions at each holy place, we pray that you will be transformed by Jesus. Christ heals and then challenges us, so that we may grow into more whole and entire versions of ourselves.