2011
proterrasancta.org

News from the Holy Land- 33/2011

DEAR FRIEND PRO TERRA SANCTA,

More than ten thousand people attended the session with Father Custos on Wednesday 24 August, on the occasion of the presentation of the exhibition on Capernaum – “Through the eyes of the Apostles – A presence that overwhelms life” at the Rimini Meeting. The exhibition displays the historical fact of Jesus through.

The address, given by the Custos, was deeply rooted in biblical and evangelical interpretation and was enriched with his personal experiences. His reflections touched fundamental themes, such as the concreteness of the Christian message as experienced in the places where Jesus lived and operated, the value of the Franciscan presence in the Holy Land, and the intercultural dialogue personally experienced during the studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

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The following are significant passages of this intervention.

 ”Still to be seen today in Capernaum are the streets on which Jesus walked, the threshold of Peter’s house. We can understand what life was like for the inhabitants of this time. We can see the kitchens with their ovens, floors, stairs, we can comprehend what the thatched ceilings were like. Among these houses, there is also that of Jesus. We can see it and a few privileged ones can even touch it, there on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. Those inhabitants did not have an emotional or theoretical experience. Jesus was there, in their midst, in their own homes. The events that disrupted their lives took place there, within the very real and ordinary context of their lives, transforming them.

“At that moment Capernaum tells us that the real life of Man remains the true Holy Land of the encounter with God. God is encountered through living one’s life in His manner, which is that of relationship, of open meeting with Him. There is once again a place of encounter between Him and us, and this place is simple reality, the way it is. Life lived with and for others is the only place for meeting with Him.”

“And when I say life, I am not speaking of something abstract, idyllic, or refined. No, I am speaking of life itself, and he who knows anything at all of his own heart, knows how much this is marked by ambiguity, by sin. Well, then, it is precisely this life and this earth that are the site of the encounter with Him. There is no experience of God without the drama, painful and beautiful, of the life of each one of us. Here, in our encounters, within our own homes, salvation takes place. The eyes of the Apostles have seen, and contemplated, this.”

Living in the Holy Land, I gradually became convinced of this. Not because I had learned this through the study of books but because I had had the opportunity to live it. In this regard, the Holy Land is a formidable place. Taking care of the Places is not simply a matter of archaeology. Living in the Holy Land since Franciscan times, and caring for the memory of the Places, obliges us above all to care for the testimony and the experience to which the Places make reference. The Place of the encounter where one arrives to the point of forgiveness should become the testimony of encounter and forgiveness. If Jesus lived in a land that provided an insight of truth and divinity to the human reality, it is possible to inhabit the Earth with and like Him. If there is a Holy Land, it means that there is a holy way of living on Earth. As Rahner says: if the Word became Man, then all men have the power to be the Word!”

Read the full text of the Custos’ address by clicking here

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