Day 7

The seventh day of our pilgrimage was especially meaningful to me. Our hotel was an easy walk to the shores of the Sea of Galilee. We had arrived the night before and we knew the lake was there, but we could not see it. So, the next morning, it was exciting to walk down to the pier and get into a boat, an old wooden boat, which took us out on a little tour of the lake.

 

Along the shores of the lake, which is about 13 miles wide and seven miles long, Jesus made His home for three years during His public life. From the boat, we could see the town of Capernaum, where Peter’s house was located and where Jesus lived for three years.

 

Inland from the shore, there is the Mount of the Beatitudes, where Jesus gave the Sermon on the Mount to a great crowd of people. We could see the site where, after the resurrection, Jesus asked Peter three times if he loved him. We could also see the town of Magdala, where Mary Magdalene came from. And then, way across the lake, there is the “wilderness” area where Jesus multiplied the loaves and the fishes as recorded in John 6.

 

The lake is calm and beautiful. It supplies the drinking water for Israel, and the local fisherman make coffee directly from the lake water when they are out fishing. It is hard to imagine that such a placid and serene lake could become a tempest, but apparently the mountains to the north and east can provide high winds which create nine foot waves that can push even the most experienced fisherman to the shore. It is here that Jesus walked on the water during the storm, and called Peter out of the boat to walk towards Him.

 

It is thrilling to think of Jesus walking along the shore, or preaching from a boat along the shore. The surrounding hillsides around Capernaum have few trees on the open fields, which contain a kind of field grass or straw and lots of basalt rocks, a dark black stone that looks like cooled magma. With all of this overlooking the Sea of Galilee and the sun sparkling off the waters, you have a very picturesque spot!

 

But the high point of the day was Holy Mass in Capernaum. Capernaum is where Jesus, in the synagogue, gave the “Bread of life” discourses recorded in John 6, “These things He said while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.” It was my turn to be the main celebrant and preach a homily. The Gospel reading was most of the chapter of John 6. I have given talks on John 6 many times to the pilgrim groups that come to EWTN and to the Shrine in Hanceville. Even before I became a brother, I made a little presentation from John 6 to a young adult group I belonged to.

 

But to be in the place where Jesus taught about the Eucharist and how He is the bread of life, and, then to preach on that myself – really just to read that Gospel out loud to the congregation – was very moving to me.

 

The Eucharist, Mass and adoration are everything for the Christian. Here we have communion with our Lord and we receive Him, His life and grace. It is the source of our strength and the summit of our union with Him. It is our greatest consolation and the heart of our devotion. Everything we do draws from and concludes in the Eucharist.

 

It is where we offer our lives to the Lord and draw strength and guidance to be his servants. It is where disciples learn from the heart of the Lord and speak to Him from the heart. It is where temptations are shaken, attachments are cut free, and our whole lives are centered back on the Lord. It is the goal of all our evangelization; it is the place where a divided, broken and wounded humanity can find peace and unity. It is where the Mystical Body of Christ is renewed and recharged to be who she is meant to be.

 

It is where Christ takes over and does for us what we cannot do for ourselves: He makes us Christians. He transforms us into Himself. He places zeal in our hearts when the fire of God’s love has grown cold within us from lingering too long on the things of this world. Jesus is the source of life. He gives us the ‘Bread of Life’ in the Eucharist and may we say with the disciples, “Sir, give us this bread always.” (John 6:34)

Day 7 - Photos

Boat on the Sea of Galilee.
A view out on the Sea of Galilee.
Ancient fishing boat from the time of Christ.
Remains of Capernaum.
A view of the ancient foundations to St. Peter's House.
The synagogue at Capernaum built in the 4th century A.D. The ruins of this one is built upon the original one from the time of Christ.
The chapel built over St. Peter's House.
The original basalt stone foundation of the synagogue of Capernaum where Christ preached.
Fr. Mark standing on the original foundation of the synagogue in Capernaum.
Ancient olive oil press.
Flour mill stone.
The beach area in front of Mensa Christi Church, where, after the resurrection, Jesus asked Peter "Do you love me?"
The rock where Jesus made the apostles breakfast after the resurrection.
We lunched on Peter's fish caught from the Sea of Galilee.
Br. Pio and Fr. Mark on the Sea of Galilee where Jesus met Peter after the resurrection.
Fr. Mark preaching on John 6 in Capernaum.
Fr. Mark praying at the rock upon which Jesus had breakfast with Peter and the disciples on the beach.
Peter’s fish for lunch at the Sea of Galilee.