This morning we checked out of our hotel in Jerusalem and drove west of the city to the town of Abu Ghosh, thought to be the ancient town of Emmaus. On the road to Emmaus, today known as the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem Highway, Jesus appeared after his resurrection and walked along with Cleopas and his companion, but they didn't recognize him. We celebrated Mass at the Church of Notre Dame l'Arche d'Alliance (Our Lady of the Ark of the Covenant Church). There is a beautiful statue of Mary holding the infant Jesus, with Jesus offering the Eucharist, on the roof of this Church.
In his homily, Bishop Malesic mentioned that David brought the Ark of the Covenant from here to Jerusalem. Mary is the new Ark of the Covenant, since she carried Jesus. The statue on the roof with infant Jesus handing out the Eucharist means that we should go out and share it with others.
Also that it was when Jesus broke the bread with Cleopas and the other disciple that they recognized him, but then he disappeared. Just like the Eucharist—we bless it, break it, share it, and then it disappears. It is now inside us.
Following Mass we continued down the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem Highway to the town of Jaffa, an ancient port city located directly on the edge of the Mediterranean Sea. We stopped for lunch at an Elvis themed restaurant. After lunch we drove down to the coast and had a few hours free time to either go into the Mediterranean, sit and have a coffee, shop, or visit the Church of St. Peter. This is the place where the apostle Peter was staying in the home of Simon the Tanner when he had a vision to slaughter and eat--everything made by God is clean. We can all be grateful for this vision which overruled the Jewish laws that forbid the eating of pork and shellfish. It allows us to now enjoy bacon and shrimp!
After enjoying that free time in Jaffa, we drove to a beautiful restaurant in downtown Tel Aviv for our farewell dinner, and then on to the Tel Aviv airport for our return home.
It has been a privilege to share this pilgrimage blog with the entire diocese and beyond. We have been so blessed to take this amazing journey and walk in the footsteps of Jesus. We thank everyone who prayed for our safe travels and for those who sent in over 5,000 prayer requests for us to carry with us and pray over. Those prayer requests were taken everywhere from out on the Sea of Galilee to the Western Wall to the Empty Tomb. You and your prayers were our companions on the journey!
Click Here For More Photos