Upon arriving in Israel
The most spiritually fulfilling and memorable trip I have taken was to the Holy Land. Upon arriving in Israel, darkness had fallen. However, I remember the moon casting its silver reflection into the Sea of Galilee as our group drove to the hotel. It was breathtaking! Each morning I woke to the sun rising in golden glory over the low-lying hills of the Sea of Galilee. Birds sang and seemed to soar around the sun which provided a beautiful picture I now have framed in my home.
Peter James and John
For ten days, our group of thirty-five walked the same paths as Jesus did over 2000 years ago. From His birth in Bethlehem to His death in Jerusalem, we visited the holy sites where He once lived, taught and died. In the village of Capernaum, Saint Peter and his family had their home. For three years, Jesus lived here during His public ministry. While in Capernaum, I walked down to the edge of the Sea of Galilee along the same path which Jesus perhaps walked so long ago. As I stood along the shoreline looking out over the sea, I could picture Jesus standing here so long ago calling to Peter, James and John to “Come, follow Me.” As He called to His Apostles, did Jesus look into the future and see me standing there one day? I felt His Presence which transcends time and is so spiritually alive today throughout the Holy Land. He reaches over the centuries and touches each soul who now walks this land which He had formed with His Father at the dawn of creation.
When our group visited Bethlehem, we visited the holy place where Jesus’ birth occurred. We each kissed this sacred ground visualizing the scene we read every Christmas in the gospel. We moved on to Mount Tabor at the top of which Jesus’ transfiguration took place before Saints Peter, James and John. From the top, I felt that I could see forever. The land before me reflected different shades of blues and greens. As we celebrated mass here, the church bells rang and rang and rang – over and over and over. It seemed as though once again God was saying, “This is My Beloved Son. Listen to Him.”
We visited Jerusalem and the holy place of Jesus’ crucifixion in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Once again, we kissed the ground where this took place; my fingers touched the rock upon which His cross once stood and where He died for us all.
Summary of the visit to the holy land
I had been eager to visit the Holy Land, but did not realize what a life-changing and spiritually enriched trip this would be. I have visited the Holy Land twice and both times felt as though I was “home.” I look forward to the day when once again I can look out over the Sea of Galilee with the sun rising and the birds singing sweetly. I look forward to returning “home.”