Monday, March 12, 2007

DAY THREE – Galilee & Banias

by Steve Ray on March 12, 2007

This one is FIXED!

Another day full of excitement, good friends, holy places, experience of our Lord and delicious food. Imagine the Sea of Galilee in the misty morning with birds singing and waves lapping the shore. Now imagine 100 pilgrims boarding a boat and setting out into the sea to sail the same waters fished by Peter, Andrew, James and John — the same water upon which Jesus walked.

While on the boat I explained the life of Jesus while he was in Galilee. From the boat we could see Tabgha, Capernaum, and more. We sang hymns to honor our Lord and the worship was very moving. After that, as you will see in this video, we all processed past the camera and greeted the viewers back home. It was great.

Next we visited the Ancient Boat–also called the Jesus Boat. It was found in the mud a decade ago and preserved so we can enjoy seeing it now. It is the remains of a fishing boat from the first century and for all we know it was the boat in which Jesus preached, slept and from which he walked on the water.

Next the Mount of Beatitudes looking out over the Sea. It was here that Jesus showed himself to be the "New Moses" as he "climbed the mountain sat and taught the people the New Law. Pilgrims always love this place because of its serenity as we walk through the beatiful gardens.

Our two buses then took the 1 hour drive to the furthest tip of northern Israel. As we drove the last few miles we were driving along the Lebanese border to Banias. No one was worried or scared in the least as everything here is quiet, peaceful and friendly. You will hear this from the pilgrims' own mouths.

Banias was called Caesarea Philippi in the time of Christ. You can read about Jesus journey and words here in Matthew 16. It is where Peter received his name when Jesus said, "You are Peter (Rock) and on this rock I will build my church."

The site is stunning and no one left unmoved. I gave my 1/2 hour presentation here entitled "Peter, the Rock, the Keys & the Chair" which is also available in a longer version on my audio CD.

New we drove through the Golan Heights along the border with Syria. Everyone got out of the bus and looked out toward Damascus which was only about one hour to the NE. We ate filafils and Druze Bread at a local Druze restaurant–way out of the way, a real authentic place. Everyone loved the unique food made of flat bread, yogurt, olive oil, and Zatar.

Upon reaching the Sea of Galilee again we had Mass at the Primacy of Peter where Jesus appointed Peter to be his delegated chief shepherd. You can read about this in John 21. I gave my talk about the events that took place on the shore.

From the water's edge Teresa Tomeo opened her radio show Catholic Connections using a cell phone. Isn't technology amazing? You could hear the waves lapping the sea while her voice was heard around the world. Our pilgrims were all gathered around and shouting greatings and blessings to the world over EWTN worldwide radio.

One half of the group ate at the hotel while we crammed a bus with 58 of us and we went north to dinner at Aberge Shulamit. The other 1/2 of the group at their last night. It is Janet and my favorite restaurant in Israel because it is one of the best in the whole country.

Our friend Leah who owns the restaurant invited two outstanding archaeologists to join us and they gave us short talks about the ongoing excavations in Galilee but they spent most of the time talking to us about the ridiculous claims of the Discovery Channel documentary "The Jesus Family Tomb." These two world renowned experts ridiculed the assertions of the show.

Everyone is having a great time. The food is wonderful, deep friendships are being formed, and the Lord Jesus is making himself wonderfully known in the LAND, in the LITURGY, and in our LIVES.

Tomorrow we will spend more time around the Sea, then renew Baptismal vows in the Jordan, eat St. Peter's Fish, and head south to Jerusalem! Pray for us and we will pray for you.