Sunday, February 16, 2020

Today was one of the more interesting days in our Holy Land 2 Pilgrimage. We crossed into the Palestinian West Bank and switched buses for issues of safety. It was a little tense but we judged it safe and were blessed by our decision with an amazing incursion into the West Bank.  We drove to Jacob’s Well and drank water from the same well that Jesus received a drink in John 4. This well was dug by Jacob 4,000 years ago.

Back to Sebaste for a delectable lunch of Samarian specialties with an enthusiastic and excited host. Then we tour the ancient site with the Ivory Palace of the wicked King Ahab and Queen Jezebel. Sebaste also was the original Tomb of Elisha the Prophet and John the Baptist, and early church is dedicated to John the Baptist including one from Queen Helen in the fourth century.

Then to Elah Valley where David killed Goliath. We walked out into the valley between the two mountains that one time had the armies of Israel and the Philistines yelling back-and-forth across to each other. It was here that Goliath challenge the armies of Israel. My grandchildren made very nice slings for all the pilgrims and we went to the same brook where David picked up the five smooth stones and we all had a great time practicing slinging stones out in the valley just like David did. I read – Samuel 17.

We then drove about an hour into Jerusalem and arrived at the Notre Dame Center where we had dinner and our Sunday Mass (homily here), and got to bed early for another busy day tomorrow.


Reposting a blog on Assumption I wrote ten years ago. Link to my long defense is here.

The Assumption of Mary always ruffles the feathers of anti-Catholics. I understand why. I used to be in their camp — I joined them in lockstep chanting the same slogans and mantras against “Catholic Tradition” and “man-made dogmas.”

WomanSun.jpgBut now I turn my guns on my old impoverished theology and anti-Catholicism and its lame attack on the Assumption and Queenship of Mary. I just learned too much to stay a member of the Fundamentalist camp with their Fundamentalist tradition. Click here to read my response.

(Picture:”The Woman Clothed with the Sun” – one of my favorites. I took this picture of the mural in the Church of the Visitation in Ein Kerem in Israel)

I recently posted a blog offering some biblical precedent for the Assumption and Queenship of Our Blessed Mother. I was not trying to prove the dogma, only to offer biblical precedent for it. There was some red-faced huffing and puffing and a few websites made hay with it. Naysayers immediately jumped to attention and posted a flurry of opposition with the same old, same old. They demanded I answer them RIGHT NOW!

What I said was not only rational and biblical, it was also easily defensible. My article is somewhat lengthy, though I did cut it back from what it was. I wanted to be somewhat thorough. I was criticized for not answering their flurry of charges and questions last week; now I’ll probably be criticized for writing too much :-)  Oh well!

I’ve never been one to be bullied or pushed into anything, and I certainly feel no obligation to tussle with them every time they step unto the playground with their taunts and jeers. But this topic interested me immensely and I thought I would enjoy delving deeper. I also thought it would be edifying and enjoyable for Catholics to read — to make them proud of their Catholic faith.

So, I had a few days of relative calm (unusual) without deadlines and such. So I wrote a response. You can read it here in PDF format. Enjoy, and if you are a Catholic — rejoice in Our Lord Jesus and in His Catholic Church, and honor His Mother.

Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, as recorded in Sacred Scripture, Mary said “All generations will call me blessed!” Be glad to be in the Church that still does that very thing!


We had an incredible dinner at Amer Shehadeh‘s house in Nazareth. He invited all 53 of our group to enjoy his wife’s fantastic cooking and the beautiful ambience of their home and family. Enjoy! Oh, by the way we also got him to tell the story of the Syrian coffee pot!