Following our time camping along the Sea, we continued on to Tabgha, to the site of the Primacy of Saint Peter—where Jesus asked Peter, “Do you love me?” following the Resurrection (Jn 21:15)—which became our home base for the next few days. After dropping off our stuff, we walked just a few minutes away, where we swam in Job’s Spring, which both Jewish and Christian tradition regards as the site where Job cleansed himself after his affliction with sores (Job 2:7). We then celebrated Mass in a small cave on the Mount of the Beatitudes, overlooking the sea.
On the road above Peter's Primacy and the Multiplication for the 5,000
The next day we walked to Capernaum, where St. Peter lived and where Jesus stayed during most of his public ministry. Here we celebrated Mass on the shore and entered into prayer and reflection while walking through the ruins of this town so central to Jesus and the Apostles. When we returned to the site of the Primacy that afternoon, a few of us took a hiatus from our New Testament reflections to celebrate Kabbalat Shabbat way up on the towering mountain town of Safed, where the practice of this Friday evening office first originated. After hitchhiking there, we traveled around the Old City, even visiting the enormous crusader fortress and singing in the amazing acoustics of a 50 foot wide cistern. Our friend Arnon was an amazing guide, as his family has lived there for 500 years.
The ruins of Capernaum
The next day, the blessing of rain arrived just at the right moment—when we were in a church, celebrating Mass at St. Peter's Primacy. What a joy to sing our praises in a church with great acoustics. The whole time, in fact, pilgrims came in and stayed to listen and pray a bit, taking shelter from the storm. Mass ended and the rain stopped, and we went out on a little mission around the site in groups of two to encounter other pilgrims and ask them how they’d encountered Jesus in a new way in the Holy Land. We had many blessed conversations with the likes of Israeli Jews, a young Polish mother who was an atheist, a Swedish Eastern Orthodox monk from a monastery in Finland, and Christian pilgrims from Indonesia, Senegal, the Philippines, and even the U.S. After our brief mission, we packed up and continued on our journey.
We bused to the foot of Mt. Tabor and hiked up in the coolness of the evening, admiring the map of lights below us. We set up camp just outside of the holy site where Jesus was transfigured before the Apostles, and, following adoration that morning, we celebrated Mass in the Moses chapel of the holy site. After Mass and some time of personal reflection, the weary Emmaus pilgrims made their way back down the mountain and caught the next train home.
The Church of the Transfiguration
The pilgrims descending Mt. Tabor
We were so blessed to experience God’s presence through our time in Galilee. Please pray that this adventure bears fruit and leads us closer to Christ as we continue to reflect on it back at Emmaus!