Our pilgrimage continued so did the tight schedule.
Early in the morning (it was really early), we went to the Church of Primacy of St. Peter Mensa Christi and had our mass there. Mensa in Latin means ‘table’.
It is recorded in John 21 in the Bible that Jesus appeared on the shore of Tiberias before his disciples. When the disciples recognised Him, they had a meal together. The Mensa that Jesus might have used for the meal is the rock in this church. The church was actually built over this rock.
Jesus asked Peter three times if he loved Him and Peter confirmed Him three times that he did. This conversation took place by the seaside close to this church.
We could find the ruins of the House of Simon Peter and the synagogue where Jesus said the words ‘I am the bread of life’ (John 6)
At the site, we could also see layers of rocks of the walls and buildings. Those layers reveal the different years that the buildings were erected.
The reason why we saw these words on the walls was because we arrived at Jordan River where we were baptized again by the priest. It was an emotional moment for some of us. Some of us cried. I think I was pretty excited. I had sins but I was reborn. 😊
We could find people windsurfing and sailing here now. It’s not just a religious place exclusively for pilgrims apparently. None of the religious sites in the world are, including those I had been to, like Tibet and Iran. It’s interesting, sometimes, to see tourists acting as if they owned the foreign land that they were travelling in. We don’t. All places on Earth belong to the Earth. We are tenants only.
Our final stop for today was the Mount of Beatitudes. It was a very nice location indeed. From this church, we could see the sea, the slopes and the beautiful green grass. Note that no one claims this is the exact location where Jesus taught His followers. This is a general area where He taught.
The priest asked us to take a look at the surroundings. He started to explain why Jesus chose this place. Imagine there were thousands of people. He needed to find a place where He could be seen and heard. ‘This was the perfect place’, I said. The priest looked at me and said, ‘do you know how hard it was to climb up to the top in the past? And you need to remember, it was hot too.’
Sermon on the Mount:
‘When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.’
24 July 2009
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