Thursday, February 21, 2019

Today is the last full day of our pilgrimage. For those who started with us and Jordan it has been two weeks of adventures together. For those who joined us in Israel we’ve had eight days together. All has gone amazingly well but unhappily several people have come down with colds and fevers.

Some people took the option to have this as a free day and are scattering to visit friends, visit sites they want to see, or just stay back and rest.

The rest of us started the day with Mass at St. Stephen’s in honor of the eight deacons that we have with us. Deacon Dave’s homily here. From there to the Israel Museum to see the Temple Model and the Dead Sea Scrolls before heading down to the Jordan River.

We have an exciting thing happening at the Jordan River! A young lady with us will be baptized in the river with the approval of her pastor back home and Fr. Dan here. Everyone’s excited for that.

We’ll have lunch in Jericho, go to Qumran, swim in the Dead Sea and ride camels before coming back to the hotel for dinner, a short night’s rest and the flights back to the United States.

END OF DAY AND FAREWELLS

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Grilled salmon sizzled on his plate as Andy and his family sat down for dinner. No sooner had they crossed themselves to bless the food than the doorbell rang. Andrew dragged himself to answer the door while his family began eating.

Two smiling faces peered in the door. “Good evening, we hope we’re not interrupting your dinner.” Rolling his eyes, Andy responded, “Can I help you?”

door-to-door-salesmanThe first smiling face said, “We are from the local Baptist church and stopped by to see if you are born again.”

Andy had been a Catholic all his life and remembered hearing that phrase somewhere in his past, but at this moment he hesitated. “Well, ahh, I’m a Catholic.”

The second smiling face displayed a hint of glee, “Can we come in and share the Gospel with you?” Andy blurted out, “Actually, we are in the middle of dinner – maybe another time.” “OK”, said the delighted Baptists, “how about next Tuesday evening?”

Andy sighed and agreed. Sitting down to cold salmon, he realized he had his work cut out for him. After dinner, he retreated to his den, grabbed his Bible and Catechism and got to work.

Take a few minutes and study along with Andy as he prepares for the Tuesday visit and the inevitable debate on the much-abused phrase “born again”. Andy started by reading the third chapter of St. John’s gospel. Open your Bible and read along with Andy. Andy began his mission with a barrage of questions.

Is the phrase “born again” in the Bible (Jn 3:3)? Does the Catechism mention this “new birth” (CCC 720, 591)? To understand, Andy thought about Nicodemus. What do Nicodemus and his legalistic system represent (Ro 7:5-6; CCC 1963)? Can the Jewish Law bring new birth and salvation? Is being born of the seed of Abraham sufficient for salvation (Mt 3:8-9; Jn 8:33-47)? What is Jesus bringing to Mankind (Heb 9:15; 12:24; Lk 22:20; CCC 292)?

For the whole article and lesson, click here. Prepare yourself and your children for the inevitable question.

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