Holy Land – Crossing the Threshold of Peter’s Home and Our Hearts

Fr. David Barnes listens as the local guide, Fr. Francesco, speaks of the biblical significance of where they are. (George Martell/TheGoodCatholicLIfe.com)

Fr. David Barnes listens as the local guide, Fr. Francesco, speaks of the biblical significance of where they are. (George Martell/TheGoodCatholicLIfe.com)

Fr. David Barnes is Pastor of St. Mary Star of the Sea Parish and administrator of St. Margaret Parish in Beverly in the Archdiocese of Boston. He is one of 29 priests joining Cardinal Seán O’Malley for a pilgrimage to the Holy Land between April 8 and April 15. We’ve asked him to share his experiences on their second full day in the Holy Land.

By Fr. David Barnes

April 10

On Tuesday, we visited the Church of the Annunciation, the place where God entered definitively and irrevocably into our humanity. Mary, in her freedom, became the doorway through which God stepped from heaven into our humanity.

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Today we stood at another threshold. In Capernaum we visited the home of Simon Peter, Apostle, fisherman, and friend of The Lord. Archeological studies confirm that the ruins here are of a very early Christian Church built on the site of Peter’s home. While most of the ruins are from the early Church building, the floor below is confirmed to be from the time of Christ. Most stunning to me was the actual threshold of the original front door of Peter’s home, which remains visible. We stood there listening to our guide just like the crowds who stood at that doorway two thousand years ago. The young priest standing next to me whispered, “Jesus walked over that threshold.”

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The home and the threshold of Peter, in some great and simple way, reminded me that what happened in Mary’s womb was meant also for me. He became flesh not just to remain in Nazareth, but also for Capernaum and Boston. Through Mary’s yes, Christ now seeks to enter into every human experience and situation. He wants to cross the threshold of every human heart. The great mission of Christians is to announce that Christ can be found in Peter’s house.

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After visiting Peter’s home, we went to the synagogue of Capernaum, only a few steps away. There we all sat and listened to Fr. Jonathan Gaspar read to us from the sixth chapter of John’s Gospel, the Bread of Life discourse. It was here that Jesus first spoke these words. Here, he proclaimed that this is the true bread that came down from heaven – the bread that has stepped over the threshold of our life and the bread that helps us step over the threshold of death into the house of the Father.

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Cardinal Seán and a group of 29 priests of the Archdiocese of Boston have traveled on an Easter pilgrimage to the Holy Land this week, and they’re bringing the readers of TheGoodCatholicLife.com blog along with them.

All this week, our colleague George Martell is traveling with the pilgrimage, embedded with the Cardinal and his priests so we can bring you photos, blogs, videos, and audio reports from the Holy Land from the pilgrims at such places as the Basilica of the Annunciation, Mount Carmel, the Sea of Galilee, the Church of the Transfiguration, Qumran, the Mount of Olives, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Upper Room, and more. This once in a lifetime opportunity to walk in the footsteps of Jesus with Cardinal Seán and the Archdiocese’s priests as an Easter retreat experience.

Please stay tuned to www.thegoodcatholiclife.com, as well as www.BostonCatholicPhotos.com and www.YouTube.com/BostonCatholic and our Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/bostoncatholic and Twitter account: www.twitter.com/bostoncatholic for the latest updates from the Holy Land.

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