The leafy green region of Galilee in northern Israel is the place where Jesus spent most of his life. There, we found his hometown of Nazareth, now a Palestinian city, with its lovely Church of the Annunciation, a Catholic church finished in 1969 and said to be the largest Christian sanctuary in the Middle East. The art collection is wonderful, with a gallery of religious art contributed by nations around the world and a front door depicting events in the life of Christ.
Standing on the Mount of Beatitudes, where Jesus delivered the Sermon on the Mount, it is impossible not to be awed by the place where many of the guiding principles of Christian life were pronounced.
It was packed with pilgrims absorbing the meaning of this place, gathered in meditation and enjoying the pleasantness of its intense, colorful landscaping. We heard many languages, which gave the impression of a gathering of many nations united in common purpose. At the Jordan River, we swished our hands in the water. We also observed dozens of white-robed people being baptized as they stood in the shallow water.