October 14, 2013 (Monday): TIBERIAS – CANA – SEA OF GALILEE (Boat ride) – TABGHA – TIBERIAS
After breakfast Remonim Mineral Hotel, Tiberias, we left for Cana and had our 9AM Mass there presided by Fr. Estong Bendita. On our way, Morning Prayer was said and Bible passages were distributed and I got this one: “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy remains in you, and that your joy may be full,” (John 15:11).
Cana of Galilee was the site where Jesus performed His first miracle at the request of His mother Mary at a wedding feast of a poor couple, by changing water into wine: “Jesus did this as the beginning of his signs in Cana in Galilee and so revealed his glory, and his disciples began to believe in him,” (John 2:1-11); and the healing of the royal official’s son who was near death (John 4:46-54).
The Mass started at 8:45AM in the Church of First Miracle (Wedding Church) and ended at 9:35am. The Wedding Church is built by the Franciscans in the nineteenth century over remains believed to date to Jesus’ day. The renewal of marriage vows of 6 couples was made during the Mass. After the Mass, signing of the Marriage Certificate and was signed by Bishop Dinualdo Gutierrez, DD; picture taking followed. We roamed around under the wedding church where remains were found.
Then we went to a souvenir store and bought some things. I bought rosaries, a ring with an engraved “I love Jesus” and others. We also had a celebration of the renewal of marriage vows of the six couples over a cup of wine and a wedding cake. And then drove to Sea of Galilee. While on our way to the Sea of Galilee our tour guide told us that the sources of living for Israel are the following: 1) tourism, 2) diamonds, 3) farming, and 4) technology.
We arrived at the Sea of Galilee at 11:15am, picture taking and then lunch in Miracle Restaurant-Coffee, on seaside of the Sea of Galilee and then drank a bottle of beer. After our lunch, we went to Tabgha.
Tabgha, from the Greek name heptapegon which means, “Seven Springs,” is an area situated on the north-western shore of the Sea of Galilee in Israel. It is not far from Capernaum and is the site of the Church of the Multiplication, famous for its incredible mosaics and the place commemorating the Miracle of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes: “Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed them to those who were reclining, and also as much of the fish as they wanted,” (Jn. 6: 11; Mark 6:30-46). The fourth resurrection appearance of Jesus (John 21:1-24) happened too. St. Jerome referred Tabgha as “the solitude” (in Latin: eremos).
We roamed around the Church of the Multiplication (or the Church of Heptapegon) and took pictures. There was a mosaic of the fish and loaves laid next to a large rock, which has caused some New Testament scholars to speculate that the builders of the original church believed that Jesus stood on this rock when He blessed the loaves and the fish just before the feeding of 5,000 men who came to hear Him. The site is maintained by the Benedictine monks.
Also at Tabgha, a nearby church is the Church of the Primacy of Peter. This is located north of the Church of the Multiplication. It was built on rocks at the shore of the Sea of Galilee. Here Jesus prepared a meal for them on what is known as Mensa Christi, during which Jesus conferred again the primacy of St. Peter. This Church is honoring the memory of Jesus reappearing to his Disciples after his resurrection (third resurrection appearance) and instructing Peter to “feed my sheep”: “He said to him the third time, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love me?’ Peter was distressed that He had said to him a third time, ‘Do you love me?’ and he said to him, ‘Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.’ [Jesus] said to him, “Feed my sheep,” (Jn. 21: 17).
We left the Church of the Primacy of Peter at around 1:33PM for a boat ride in the Sea of Galilee (Luke 5:1). At the boat, the Philippine flag was raised. The Nene, the wife of an ex-police general Cachuela was the one who raised it and assisted by a boat crew. A gospel passage on calming the sea was read by Fr. Estong and he gave the reflection. It was a windy and sunny afternoon; picture taking in the boat.
The Sea of Galilee, also known as Lake Tiberias and Lake Kinneret, is where Jesus accomplished numerous miracles: “Then He rose and rebuked the winds and the sea and there was a great calm,” (Matt. 8:26); “And in the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea,” (Matt. 14:25). He also chose His first disciples on its shores.
The Sea of Galilee is also the largest freshwater lake of Israel. At the other side of the lake is Golan Heights. A key attraction is the site where the water of the Sea of Galilee flows into the Jordan River to which Jesus was baptized by St. John the Baptist. We came to the River to be poured out by the water to renew our Baptism. The assigned priest to do the pouring of water was Fr. Ching Salibay OP
We went to a diamond factory near Rimonim Mineral Hotel. We entered and somebody explained to us the process and the 4 characteristics of a diamond which are: Cut, Clarity, Color and Carat. It was like a homily I read that followed these 4 Cs of diamond: Christ, Church, Communion, and Charity. Then one of the owners of the factory, explained further these diamond characteristics and its price in the market for .51 to 5 carats ranges from 1,800 to 148,000 US dollar.
Then Saher, our tour bus driver, brought us back to Rimonim Mineral Hotel for a rest at around 5pm. The hotel was walking distance at about 350 meters but the bus driver brought us to the hotel.
Take a short rest and then at around 6:47pm we had our dinner; listened to the meeting of the co-hosts for the next day with Fr. Ching Salibay OP, the shepherd of the group, with Millard Villaverde, our tour guide from the Philippines. We went back to our room, rest and sleep. And that was all for the day.
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