Sunday, September 28, 2008

Mount of Beatitudes, Capernaum, and St. Peter's Primacy

At 10:30 this morning we set off for the day to the top of the hill outside the Pilgerhaus: the Chapel of the Beatitudes. A Franciscan Chapel, it overlooks the Sea of Galilee, and the view is spectacular. Tradition says that this is the place that the thousands heard the Beatitudes (Matt. 5, etc.), and one had to wonder if Jesus had the facing the mountain to keep their attention because the scenery is beautiful! We read the entire Beatitudes this morning from this spot, and I must say it is one thing to read those texts in seminary and churches, and to read them right on the grassy edge of the Chapel. Context matters! The contextualization of reading these texts in the land and places where they may have happened brings theology and geography together like nothing else can.

We then walked by the side of a banana plantation, down a path to Capernaum, set by the Sea of Galilee, overlooking the ruins of the city where Peter lived, and where Jesus' earthly ministry took place. The ruins in this area show an amazing floor print of the City in the day of Jesus' life...fascinating to behold.

We then had lunch outside the ruins (salads!) before heading to St. Peter's Primacy, in which it is said that this is the place that the resurrected Christ cooked fish for his disciples, like Peter and others who were fishing. There is a flat rock, which is the supposed table (as told to the pilgrim Egeria by the Byzantines who took care of this place) where Christ set out the food, welcoming the fishermen from their day's labor, and, according to John, telling them repeatedly to tend, care, and the sheep of Jesus Christ's flock: us!

Back to Pilgerhaus, laughing and enjoy a 12 km walk in the hot, dry, sun of a Palestinian autumn day.

Salaam and Shalom,

Buen Camino,