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  • Writer's pictureFr. Paul MacNeil

3rd Sunday of Easter - Fr. Paul

I just wanted to share some personal thoughts and highlights about our recent trip to the holy land:

First, I was very impressed with the Sea of Galilee and the beginning of Jesus' Mission. His followers must have really enjoyed His company and had a lot of fun together. I sense a deep friendship between Jesus and his disciples. As we were sitting in a boat on the Sea of Galilee, they played for us an old familiar hymn that I remember from school: "He's got the whole world in his hands. He's got you and me brother, in his hands, he's got you and me sister, in his hands, he's got you and me mother, in his hands, he's got the whole world in his hands"

Then I was thinking about our visit to the sermon on the mount, and how beautiful, challenging and meaningful his message must have been. He claimed, according to the Gospels, that He was the Divine Son of God - he didn't work up to that, but he communicated that right from the beginning. In fact, they nearly threw him off a cliff in Nazareth for that teaching, and that cliff was HIGH, we were there. But at the same time, who wouldn't want to believe Him? His message was so true: "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God."

Of course, who would not be moved by visiting the sight of His crucifixion? Being at the Church of Peter in Gallicanto where he denied Jesus 3 times made the entire episode very real for me. Picturing Jesus being beaten and tossed in a dungeon, visiting the Garden of Gethsemane and seeing the rock he might very well have prayed on in fear for his life. It all seemed so very real. And very frightening. And very sad, given He did absolutely nothing to deserve death except let his own light shine.

This made me think of another hymn we sang as children that I remembered when we were on the Sea of Galilee: "Put your hand in the hand of the man from Galilee" - as I reached down into a hole in the rock and touched the base upon which the cross of Jesus was placed after walking with him the very steps of the way of the cross.

And it must have been so frightening for the disciples after the crucifixion. Their leader was gone, what do I do now?

But he's not gone. They recognized him in the breaking of the bread on the road to Emmaus. Being in Capernaum where Jesus lived his adult life and ministered, being in the very synagogue where he taught and where he fed the 5,000 was powerful enough, but then visiting the spot where Jesus cooked the fish after his resurrection on the shores of the beautiful sea was a reassuring reminder that Jesus is still alive. Jesus is still with us, and his presence is most keenly felt in the gathering of the people day after day, week after week, here at Mass on Sunday. Using this as a starting point for our week, we too can now go forth from here and transform the world.

Put your hand in the hand of the man

Who stilled the water

Put your hand in the hand of the man

Who calmed the sea

Take a look at yourself

And you can look at others differently

Put your hand in the hand of the man

From Galilee

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