Walking in the footsteps of the saints

Dead Sea scrolls at Qumran. (J.D. Long-Garcia)

Pope Francis urged leaders of the Kingdom of Jordan to support peace between Christians and Muslims. He also applauded the kingdom’s outreach to Syrian refugees once he arrived there.

While the pope celebrated Mass at the International Stadium in Amman, our group was just on the other side of the Dead Sea. We visited Qumran, near the location where the oldest Bible was ever found — the Dead Sea Scrolls.

We made our way through the ruins of the Qumran community, the Essenes, who settled here from Jerusalem. The ascetic Essenes sought spiritual purity, lived in community and their practice included twice-daily baths for cleansing. Whether or not the Essenes wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls is debated, but they likely formed part of their library.

It is speculated that John the Baptist was an Essene. John and the Essenes share some practices: the idea of cleansing through water, living in the desert and describing themselves as voices crying in the desert. But differences, including the belief that Jesus was the Messiah, linger between John and the Essenes. Nevertheless, as I walked through the ruins, it felt heavy on me — that this could be the dining room where John the Baptist ate, the hall where he made his way before going to sleep for the night. These were the mountains he saw when he woke up.

I’m only two days into my visit to the Holy Land, yet it’s somewhat overwhelming that every step I take could be on ground walked by my heroes — St. John the Baptist, St. Peter and St. Paul, the evangelists, the Blessed Mother — Christ Himself.

Earlier in the day we visited the Garden of Gethsemane. Tourists flock there, seeing olive trees that are hundreds of years old. Jesus spent his final hours here. Jerusalem’s wall looms. The soldiers came from the other side to arrest the Lord before he was executed. It’s a somber, but blessed place. Holy ground, where Christ prayed and “his sweat, like drops of blood,” fell on this ground. (Luke 22:44) 

“We are not far from where the Holy Spirit descended with power on Jesus of Nazareth after his baptism by John in the River Jordan,” the pope said in his homily in Jordan.
“The mission of the Holy Spirit, in fact, is to beget harmony — he is himself harmony — and to create peace in different situations and between different people.”


Voices

Who am I to judge?

Father Ronald Rolheiser, OMI

Perhaps the single most often-quoted line from Pope Francis is his response to a question he was asked vis-à-vis the morality of a particularly dicey issue. His infamous/famous reply: “Who am I to judge?”

 

 

Office for Vocation

Events

May 2015
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30

May 3, 2015

  • Sunday, May 3

    Special Needs Mass, 10 a.m., Father Maguire Council Hall, 4315 N. Vincent Ave, Covina.Mass for persons with physical and intellectual disabilities, their families and caregivers. For more information, contact Elizabeth, (909) 599-9833, ebinerfamily@gmail.com.

    Third Order Lay Carmelite Community Q & A Meeting, 1-4 p.m., St. Jane Frances de Chantal Church located at 12930 Hamlin St. North Hollywood. The Order is located throughout the Los Angeles area and open to new membership.  If interested in the ancient tradition of contemplative prayer, community and service, come and have your questions answered.  For more information, contact Regional Director Herman Briones, (818) 521-6564.

    National Coalition of Girls’ Schools, 1-3 p.m., Mount Saint Mary’s University, Chalon Campus, Hannon Theater, 12001 Chalon Rd., Los Angeles. Presenters will include Dr. Linda J. Sax of UCLA’s Higher Education Research Institute and a Q&A panel of student representatives from each of the ten participating schools.  The event will conclude with a school fair where staff members, student panelists and alumnae will be available to answer school-specific questions.  Free.

    St. Elisabeth Parish May Festival, 1-10 p.m.,  St. Elisabeth, 6628 Cedros Ave., Van Nuys. (818) 779-1756 ext. 200.

    Rosary and Mass for Life, Rosary: 4:30 p.m., Mass: 5 p.m., St. Cornelius Church, 5500 E Wardlow Rd., Long Beach. Contact Sylvia Aimerito (562) 429-1965. Audiogirlministries.com.

The Tidings - Home Delivery 300x100

Get our news by email

The Holy Father visits the Holy Land
Bob Smith BMW 300x250
Bob Smith Toyota 300x250
Bob Smith Mini 300x250