The last day was a banner day. We started out with Mass at Notre Dame and then a visit to the Israel Museum and then drove down to the Judean wilderness. We went to the authentic baptismal site of Jesus before having lunch in Jericho.

Then on to came to Qumran where we discussed the history of the Dead Sea Scrolls before swimming in the Dead Sea and riding the camels.

The second video today shows our final dinner farewells and the bus leaving for the airport and the final sharings. We did not have one complaint but 1000 complements and we take that as a great blessing and tribute to teamwork.

Final Dinner and Farewells.

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Legatus Holy Land Pilgrimage Day 7

by Steve Ray on October 15, 2014

Mass at Gethsemane is always moving. Mount Zion, Tour of the Holy Shroud exhibit, entrance to the Tomb and much more. Enjoy!

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Was Jesus Nice?

by Steve Ray on October 15, 2014

I'm OK, you're OK. Be yourself! Gotcha covered buddy!

I wish I had a dollar for every time someone has said to me. “That was not very Christ-like.” This response usually comes after being honest to the point of making someone upset.  The implication is that Jesus was a cuddly little nice guy who was always smiling, always accepting with kind words – in short NICE.

In America we tend to be pretty nice, except maybe if you live in New York City. But in contrast to the rest of the world we tend to be very polite, genteel, gracious and nice. Tour guides in other countries say that Americans are the nicest people. We transpose our niceness onto Jesus and think he was a lot like us.

But does LOVE = NICE?

Of course Jesus was loving. He is God after all and God is love (1 John 4:8). We also know that love does not always equate to NICE. God allowed Paul to have a thorn in the flesh to keep him humble (2 Cor 12:7). Three times Paul prayed for it to be removed. God said NO.  God was not acting very American. He certainly wasn’t very nice about it.

Nice is defined primarily as “pleasant or commendable, kind or friendly” (Collins English Dictionary). It originally comes from the Latin meaning “simple, silly or ignorant.”

"He's not a tame lion, afterall" Quote from Narnia series

There is such a thing as “tough love.” It is the kind of love that cares enough to be honest, to confront, to discipline, to cause temporary pain to bring about eternal glory.  On the surface “tough love” does not always appear to be nice. How often has a child, sent to the corner blurt out “You are not very nice!”

Was Jesus nice?

Like Aslan the Lion in C. S. Lewis’ Narnia series, Jesus is approachable and loving, but don’t ever consider him “tame” or too cuddly. Jesus is God as well as man. He expressed the wrath and anger of God as well as the mercy and love of God.

Imagine coming to the Temple in Jerusalem one day to pray. You hear a great commotion and run over to see an angry man throwing over tables, grabbing the money from the merchants and throwing the money on the ground.

Whipping the money changers and dumping over their tables

But worse, you see him make a scourge of cords – a whip – and striking people with it. You are shocked that anyone would be so rude and destructive, so inconsiderate and mean to lash people with a whip. People ran in fear! Everyone was upset. Jesus was red in the face and scowling.  It certainly wasn’t very “Christ-like.” How nice was that?

Jesus was always loving, but he was not always nice, as we Americans count niceness. Here is just one example. Jesus spoke very harshly to his fellow Jews.

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but within you are full of hypocrisy and iniquity. . . .  You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell? (Matthew 23:27,  28, 33).

Ouch! Doesn’t sound very kind and courteous: not very thoughtful or nice!

So, maybe there is more to WWJD (What Would Jesus Do?) than we’ve been led to believe. Maybe we shouldn’t worry so much about being nice, being liked, acting like  genteel Americans. Maybe we ought to be more honest and forthright about the things that really matter.  Maybe we should be more willing to hurt some feelings, step on some toes, show tough love to those in sin.

Maybe we should be more Christ-like.

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Carrying our Cross with Christ, Mass at Tomb, Visitation and more

October 14, 2014

Join us for Via Dolorosa and Mass the Tomb and … … Visitation, Western Wall, meeting with Bishop of Jerusalem and more.

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Chair of Moses, Chair of Peter

October 14, 2014

              St. Cyprian of Carthage (beheaded 257 AD) one hundred and fifty years before the New Testament writings were collected into one book called “The Bible”: “The Lord says to Peter: ‘I say to you,’ He says, ‘that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my [...]

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All Day in Bethlehem: Pilgrimage Day 5

October 13, 2014

From shopping to the shepherds caves, from Christmas carols to Mass from the birth of Our Lord to dinner and dancing. Enjoy!

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Was Jesus Really Born at THAT Place in Bethlehem?

October 13, 2014

It is often asked: how do we know these are the real sites where Jesus and Mary lived and walked. The earliest Christians realized the importance of these sites and immediately viewed them as sites to be remembered and venerated. Small chapels were built and pilgrims came from around the world to visit these spots [...]

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Video Fixed – Legatus Holy Land Pilgrimage Day 4: Capernaum, Up to Jerusalem

October 12, 2014

Sorry the wrong video uploaded last night. It was only 50 seconds, just a segment of our dinner. Now we have the whole video up – almost 15 minutes of the entire day including Capernaum and the Sea of Galilee and the drive up to Jerusalem. Enjoy today’s video.

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5000 Years of Middle East Control in 90 Seconds

October 12, 2014

No part of the world has changed hands and governments and religions more than the Middle East. This is a fascinating “moving map” of all the changes over the last 5,000 years.

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Christmas in Bethlehem, Sign up Now, Safe and Quiet in the Holy Land

October 11, 2014

Now that things have quieted down in Israel, many people are again looking for a good trip to the Holy Land. And do we have the trips for you! Work and school schedules a problem — no problem! We have a convenient pilgrimage planned over the Christmas break — from the day after Christmas until [...]

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Legatus Holy Land Day 3: Beatitudes, Banias, Galilee and more

October 11, 2014

This is a banner day! Everyone is starting to bond and become friends even if they didn’t know each other when we started. There are several common bonds: 1. The Catholic faith, 2. All members of Legatus, 3. They’re all in business people who understand reason and relationships and fun and punctuality. Today was a [...]

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Is Mormonism Christian? a Cult? a Heresy?

October 11, 2014

Mormons call themselves “Christians.” They say they believe in Jesus and the Bible and should be considered one of the many respected Christian denominations. However, Mormons have a serious problem if they want to claim the title of “Christian”. From the earliest days of Christianity battles have raged over orthodox theology — what is it [...]

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Legatus Holy Land Pilgrimage Day 2

October 10, 2014

What a magnificent first full day on this pilgrimage. Legatus is wonderfully organized, prompt, interested and a very impressive group – the full bus of them! We enjoy having Tom Monahan of Domino’s Pizza and Ave Maria University with us on this trip. Today we visited the Mount of Transfiguration where we celebrated Mass, then [...]

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Jews as Proof of God’s Existence & Faithfulness

October 10, 2014

Winston Churchill wrote “Some people like the Jews, and some do not. But no thoughtful man can deny the fact that they are, beyond any question, the most formidable and the most remarkable race which has appeared in the world.“ He is absolutely right! I have often said they are remarkable people –gifted in a [...]

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Legatus Arrived Safely and Well in Israel

October 9, 2014

It was great to see all of them get off the plane tired yet with anxious smiles on their face. Tom Monaghan was among them. We got them all on the bus and headed up to Galilee. We are now all settled in to the Gai Beach Hotel after Mass and a great  barbecue on [...]

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“The Sinner’s Prayer” – All You Need to Get to Heaven?

October 9, 2014

When I was a kid, the “Sinner’s Prayer” was a big deal. It was at the heart of everything we knew about Jesus and getting saved. It was almost used as an incantation. My mom coached me to pray the Sinner’s Prayer when I was 4 years old. We knelt together in front of the [...]

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