Bethany, November 15

I arrived at the Passionist house of St Martha in Bethany, late this morning. Here’s where I am in gospel terms: “When they drew near Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples, saying to them, ‘Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find an ass tethered, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to me. And if anyone should say anything to you, reply, ‘ The master has need of them. Then he will send them at once.”

(Mark 21, 1-9)

The gospel continues that the disciples did this and a large crowd welcomed him, some spreading their cloaks on the road, others cutting branches to strew before him.

“The crowds preceding him and those following  kept crying out and saying: ‘Hosanna to the Son of David, blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’”

So here’s where Jesus started his Palm Sunday entrance into Jerusalem.  He knew this place well,  must have been a place where they  believed in him. In Bethany he was accepted, at least as “Son of David.”

As I traveled here, courtesy of Catholic Travel, the streets to Bethphage were crowded with Muslims getting ready for their major feast of Eid-Ul_Adha, the Feast of Sacrifice, celebrated for the next several days at the conclusion of the Hajj. The sacrifice celebrated is the Sacrifice by Abraham of his first born son Ishmael. It’s a joyful feast that calls Muslims to a spiritual awakening. Cf. http://www.religioustolerance.org/isl_feast.htm

We know too little about Muslims and their spirituality. The website cited above quotes an western newspaper account some years ago warning of terrorist attacks at the conclusion of this feast. It’s like predicting Christian terror attacks after our easter celebrations. The feast actually calls for forgiveness of enemies and peace with your neighbor. Presents given out and food for everyone, especially the poor.

You could hear a special call to celebration in the muzzim’s  call this evening to this Muslim neighborhood.

Our visitors from St. Marys all got off safe from the hotel early this morning; now they are winging their way home.

8 thoughts on “Bethany, November 15

  1. Bill Hoagland

    Very interesting. I was in Istanbul, Turkey until yesterday and saw the start of the Feast of Sacrifice. Much excitement and celebrating!

    Enjoying following you on your trip in the Holy Land.

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  2. Bill Hoagland

    Great Blog!!

    With regard to the Feast of Sacrifice, don’t you mean the sacrifice of Abraham’s first born son Ishmael?

    Have a good remaining trip and safe travels home.

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  3. vhoagland Post author

    You’re right, Bill, it’s Ishmael. Goes to show, we know too little about the Muslims. Best wishes to Susan.

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  4. Ann Alexander

    We miss you and our St. Mary’s travel companions. It was a long trip home but everyone made it safely. Have a good retreat.

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  5. Bill Barnett

    Fr. Victor

    The pilgrims have returned to Colts Neck, weary from a long but happily uneventful airplane trip.

    Our pilgrimage was everything that we hoped for due in no small part to your spiritual leadership and John Carlucci’s organizational capabilities.

    The blog is an excellent summary of the trip.

    Bill & Alta

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  6. peggy nitka

    dear fr. victor,
    home safe and sound and now we’ll be able to continue along with you on your blog! it was a wonderful journey and we’re missing our fellow pilgrims on this gray november day in new jersey. today’s gospel was the story of zaccheus and all i could think of was that very old sycamore tree and our mass in jericho. thank you for reminding me that i might be hiding in a tree and still jesus will find me!
    blessings to you and all,
    peggy nitka

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  7. Jo-Ann Morrissey

    I bought some little bottles today so I could share my water from the Jordan with some of my closest friends and family. I can hardly believe what we accomplished in those 9 days with you, Fr. It was an awesome journey and I still find it hard to believe that in that time we saw the spot where Christ was born and died and everything in between. WOW. And the new friends we met, I know HE was with us on this trip. Be safe on the rest of your pilgrimage. I can’t wait to see some of my new friends again. Jo-Ann

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