Arrived in The Sea of Galilee area. Found my new apartment without too much difficulty and unpacked. The view from my two balconies are more than I expected. It was a nice drive through the desert. It's just amazing that when you get to the sea, everything just greens up an it is just beautiful with all the flowers and Palm trees.
The one spiritual thing that I did was to go what is possibly the site of the Baptism of Christ. This area has more of a tradition than any other site. It has been used for centuries as the place to baptize the Palestinian Christians on the feast of The Baptism of Christ in January right after Christmas. The site was just recently opened to visitors although it was always opened for baptisms once a year. It's still guarded by military and there are land mines if you get off the road. That's because the country Jordan is right across the river. There are guards preventing from people crossing. There are centuries old churches there on both sides of the river. When I arrived there was a group just finishing them baptisms or renewing their vows and an African group renewing their vows. For most people this not the Jordan river that they envisioned. The Jordan river is really a creek and full of silt from the desert. It's getting ready to go into the Dead Sea not too far away. But this is probably the site that Jesus would have wanted for John to baptize him. Away in the desert, away from the crowds, among the reeds. Very fitting for him to be with poor of the country.
There was an outstanding event that was not carried by the media when Pope Francis came to this site when he visited the Holy Land. He approached from the Jordan side. He came in a golf cart chauffeured by King Abdullah with Francis sitting next to him. The king and the pope coming together to the place where Jesus was baptized. Amazing that two leaders of the world just driving around and hanging out. One Catholic, the othe Muslim. Amazing. Christ eventually brings people together.
Here is a photo of the site that I love.
I had Mass there and offered it for my Godparents, Alma and Francis and my parents who brought me to the faith. Also I included all those that I have baptized in my ministry.
The next is the usual site that tourists are taken. It's actually a lake that is clean and the water is colored. To make it look better. It's actually a Jewish Kibbutz. You enter and exit through a gift shop.
Which one do you think Christ would have preferred?