Today we drove through the countryside of Israel to Caesarea Philippe. We drove through the Golan Heights region to reach our destination which was very close to the Lebanon / Syrian border. The pilgrim discussion was very interesting as we learned of the compulsory Army service for all Isralean Jewish 18 year olds. Women serve for 2 years and the men for 3 years. For all Isralean Arabs the service is optional, even though they are also Isralean citizens. It is an eerie feeling to watch the passing of signs along the journey indicating “Danger”. This particular sign indicates that there are mine fields along the way. However, this days destination was well worth the effort. Arriving at Caesera Phillippi took your breath away. There we stood where it is believed Jesus said to Peter, James and John: “Who do YOU say that I am?” This is where Jesus named Peter as ‘the Great Bridge Builder’!!
Next we stopped at Bethsaida. This is the spot where Jesus is believed to have worked two miracles. One was the multiplication of the loaves and the fushes to feed the people. The second was the healing of the blind man. In this city, now in ruins, it is believed that Peter, Andrew, Philipp and James and John, the sons of Zebedee were born.
Our last stop of the day was the location of the Mount of Beatitudes. They were beautiful grounds high above the surrounding lands. You could visibly envision Jesus preaching to the flocks of people and sharing with them His messages of the Beatitudes. Monsignor Hogan always reads at our daily Masses the gospel corresponding to the current religious location. It was a an intense feeling to be sitting on the Mount of the Beatitudes listening to the following messages:
Tomorrow off to the Jordan River!!