Thursday, November 21, 2013

“You are Peter” in Jesus’ language of Aramaic

by Steve Ray on November 21, 2013

Since we recently visited Caesarea Philippi, the site where Jesus renamed Simon as “Peter” or Kepha (Matt 16:13-20), I thought you would find this interesting.

So, what did it sound like at Caesarea Philippi when Jesus renamed Simon and made him the rock of the Church: “And I tell you, you are Peter [rock], and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it” (Matt 16:18)? Compare this with John 1:42. (Even though the auto link here says it means Peter, it should say “means rock”.)

You know of course, that Jesus did not speak English. If most of us heard Him speak those words today we would have no clue what He was saying. Jesus spoke Aramaic and that language is still alive in very small communities in the Middle East.

Aramaic sm.jpgWhat you see written to the right is Syriac Aramaic as written by my friend Efrem Nissan in Bethlehem. He is a Syrian Orthodox Christian. (Click on the text for a larger image.)

Now, not only can you see the script — which is close to what would have been written in the time of Jesus — but you can listen to it as well. I took this short video clip of Efrem reading the words you see written here. He read them on our pilgrimage. Listen for the word “kepha” twice. Kepha is the word “rock” in Aramaic.


Sailing on Galilee and UP to Jerusalem

by Steve Ray on November 21, 2013

Another great day with the St. Ann’s Parish pilgrimage. We started out with Mass at Capernaum where Jesus said,” Eat my flesh, drink my blood”. I gave my talk “Defending the Eucharist”.

We then went in on a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee before arriving at Nof Ginosar to see the ancient boat from the time of Jesus.

Next we ate St. Peter’s fish for lunch, just like Jesus and the disciples did. Then we left for our 2 hour UP to Jerusalem. Even though we were going south we would never say down to Jerusalem. In the Bible it says “up to Jerusalem 22 times.” Jerusalem is sheer God lives and is therefore the highest place of the face of the earth.

On the way up to Jerusalem I gave my conversion story, why two Baptists decided to become Catholics.

After arriving at our Notre Dame Hotel owned by the Vatican we quickly walked to the Holy Sepulchre where we had a special event called the Solemn Entry. You will see in the video that we were all able to enter the tomb of Christ escorted by the Franciscans and beautiful organ music. Very few people get this privilege.

Then back for dinner and bed to prepare for a full day tomorrow in Bethlehem.

Msgr. Droll’s homily in Capernaum here 713_0025


Our 51 pilgrims at the Holy Sepulchre


Msgr. Droll prays with us on the bus


Our boat arriving on the Sea of Galilee


Entering the Tomb of Christ

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