Posts Tagged ‘Holy Land’

The Importance of Pope Francis’ Trip to the Holy Land

Tuesday, May 20th, 2014

The USCCB Media Blog is previewing the upcoming visit by Pope Francis to the Holy Land.  Yesterday they carried a piece by me on the visit deepening the friendship between Catholics and Jews.  Today, Bishop Richard Pates of Des Moines blogs on bringing hope to a hopeless situation.  They will have more entries in the days to come. Stay tuned!

Renewed Faith

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

This piece comes from Jerusalem.  Here I am, in great company of fifty priests from the archdiocese, on a ”retreat-pilgrimage.”

Can you think of a better place to renew faith in God and hear again the call to discipleship from His Son, Jesus?

We are keeping your intentions in our prayers, as well as those of our Jewish neighbors, for whom this land is especially holy.

It’s said that reading or listening to the Bible is never the same after a pilgrimage to Israel.  I’d agree.

Of the multiple spiritual fruits of a retreat here, one stands out for me:  we have a God who has intimately and powerfully inserted Himself into our history.  As the old saying has it, it actually becomes “His-story.”

So, our God revealed Himself personally to people whose names are still revered here:  Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, David . . .

And, for us Christians, God actually entered history in His only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ, who walked this sacred ground.

This is important for us.  We Americans live in a culture formed by the Enlightenment.  In many ways this is very good.

Part of the Enlightenment is Deism, which holds that, while there is, indeed, a Supreme Being, it is distant, aloof, impersonal.  This Divinity has set creation, and our lives, in motion, and now leaves us alone, to greet us one day when it’s all over.

We Christians (and Jews) do not have a Deistic approach to God.  For us, God is personal; He has revealed Himself to us, entered into covenant with us, called us, formed us, and is intimately part of history.

We Christians dare to take it a step further as we profess that this God took flesh in Jesus Christ, the mystery we call the Incarnation.

Tough to settle only for Deism at Bethlehem, Nazareth, the shores of the Sea of Galilee, the Mount of the Beatitudes, Cana, Capernaum, Naim, Bethesda, and Jerusalem. . .

See why one’s faith is renewed?