Friday in Bethlehem was a full, rich, and hard day. We began with a visit to a portion of the Separation Wall between Jerusalem and Bethlehem covered with murals and graffiti, the art of resistance. We then visited the St. Vincent Creche, an orphanage where we visited with its director and dozens of children, and shared mass together there. Before lunch, we went to the Daral-Kalima University College of Arts and Culture to hear a presentation that was both stirring and extremely informative about the situation in Bethlehem for Christians, as well as about the facts on the ground about resources of land, water, electricity, etc., for Palestinians throughout the region. After lunch we visited the Shepherd’s Field, and sang and prayed in the cave near where the shepherds likely heard the announcement from the angels about the birth of our Savior. After the morning, it was good news many of us needed to hear.
What follows are some words from our many reflections on this intense day.
- Jesus’ perfect love casts out fear. It’s just jolly hard to get hold of perfect love.
- Berlin. Belfast. Bethlehem. Brownsville.
- The sea is so vast and my boat is so small.
- It’s a very different sea from Galilee.
- The news all feels really bad, but there’s something hopeful about a room full of Americans hearing it, listening and witnessing.
- There is an element in all that we saw of the tragedy of some people’s desires leading to others’ suffering.
- Seeing the things we’ve seen here (the separation wall, the discrimination, the economic disparity) makes it easier for us to recognize it at home.
- We’ve been following Jesus on this pilgrimage, but it also seems like we’ve been following Mary.
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness cannot overcome it.