Bethlehem is a city of contrasts, the largest between Christian vs. Muslim. Today we spent the day touring this ancient city which in many ways has still not moved into the modern world. It is behind a wall which constrains the inhabitants. We can come and go—they cannot.
We literally fought our way into the Church of Nativity to touch the birthplace of Christ. We did not throw any punches but the pressing crowds forced us to push back. But everyone thought it was worth the wait and the struggle.
Lunch of falafils and schwarma, dinner of stuffed lamb with Palestinian rice and yellow lentil soup.
Mass in a cave at Shepherds Field where the angels announced the good news of the birth of a lamb, the Lamb of God. Prayer with shawl of the Blessed Mariam of Jesus Crucified in front of her relics caused us all to pray for holiness and sanctity.
The evening was also a contrast. We ended dinner by dancing to the throbbing beats of Arabic music before walking to meet the Bishop of Jerusalem. He updated us on the situation of the Christians in the Holy Land and gave us his blessing.
Everyone had a part of the evening free but they all went to be early because tomorrow morning we pray the Stations of the Cross along the Via Dolorosa and have Mass inside the Tomb of Christ.
All is well and everyone is having a great time. For all those concerned about safety – it is a non-issue. Everything is peaceful and quiet as usual as tens of thousands of pilgrims spread out over the country to visit the holy sites.
Bethlehem and Jerusalem – Dancing and Bishops