Capernaum

Trip Start Mar 31, 2010
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12
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Trip End Apr 10, 2010


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Flag of Israel  , Galilee,
Saturday, April 3, 2010

Capernaum is an important stop on our pilgrimage.  This is like Jesus' "home base" on the Sea of Galilee, from where he traveled preaching the Kingdom of God.   Here lived and worked two sets of fishermen brothers: Peter and Andrew, and James and John, when they were called by Jesus.  Many healings were performed here.

It is while teaching at the synagogue in Capernaum that Jesus gives the famous Bread of Life discourse on the Eucharist (Jn 6:35-69).  We see the "new" (3d c.) white limestone synagogue - to its side lies the older foundation of Jesus' synagogue, funded by a centurion whose servant Jesus cured in Lk 7:5.  We are actually sitting there on several rows of seats, as Dario reads the gospel passage.  I imagine Jesus sitting among them, saying these words to the shock of some, the puzzlement of most, and the firing up of those so called by the Spirit.  Only Peter, though he may not quite "get it", has enough humility and faith to admit: "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God." I really admire those virtues in him. 

We continue on through the excavations of the ancient city, built in the local black volcanic basalt stone, to the House of Peter, where Peter's mother-in-law lived and was once healed by Jesus.  It is protected by a round, modern Franciscan church built up and over it.  We know this house is probably what the tradition alleges, because since the mid-first century there is this one room which has been preserved in succesive buildings of house-churches (4th c.) and Byzantine churches (5th c.), and its walls were covered with numerous graffiti mentioning Jesus as Lord and Christ, showing the devotion of pilgrims through the ages. The house is right by the lake; it is very peaceful. 

We break for a great lunch of fried lake fish and Arab mezze or appetizers.  The best pictures are the ones where Cary's camera shuts off! Next we head for ancient Heptapegon, or Tabgha.


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