On February 14, 2000, I boarded a plane for the Holy Land – a Jubilee year pilgrimage led by a priest from my parish. Never in my life would I imagine making such a trip. While there, I kept a daily journal of my experiences. Beginning today through Palm Sunday, my weekly post will be a day from my journal. I have taken photos from my Holy Land pilgrimage scrapbook. I may include some additional reflection as well.
Photo: Top image is view of the Sea of Galilee from my hotel room window; Bottom photo of Jubilee year postcard
Day 1 – Tue, 2/15/00 Arrival – Tiberias
It is the eve of my Holy Land discoveries. On the ride to Tiberias, I am amused at the familiar sites of Office Depot, Toys “R” Us, and McDonald’s golden arches. I wonder if Jesus had just come in our year 2000, would he have “suffered the little children to come with Him” to Toys “R” Us followed by a Happy Meal? In just the dark silhouette of night, I can tell what a paradox of images await daylight. What have the last few decades of industry and technology obliterated of the last 2000 years? Though my entire pilgrimage is still before me, I feel a peace settling in my soul to quiet the disturbances of 20th Century conveniences. That is the question. Can I put aside today to truly visit yesterday? The yesterday that Jesus’ feet walked the earth in the land of God’s chosen people — Israel.
I keep thinking about the paradox of modern images versus the Israel I imagined from my Bible. I think our attempts to properly celebrate Advent in the midst of commercialization offers a similar paradox. Lent is approaching in the wake of Valentine candies, cards, and flowers. Green St. Patrick’s Day party items will soon be joined by an expanse of Easter goodies. Lent will begin on February 25th and there will be plenty of distractions. What distracts you the most and how can you lessen the distractions? What will Lent mean to you this year?
Information on Tiberias from Wikipedia