Whither Capernaum and Camden Yards?

Synagogue in Capernaum

And as for you, Capernaum, ‘Will you be exalted to heaven? You will go down to the netherworld.’ (Luke 10:15)

“The world as we see it is passing away.” Thus wrote the Apostle Paul to the Christians who lived in one of the bigger, bustling port cities of the Roman Empire, Corinth, in Greece.

The Capernaum we read so much about in the gospels has been excavated by archaeologists. A visit to the site offers an impressive evocation of the ancient town. But the impression the dig gives that Capernaum was very small: this is misleading. It was no sleepy fishing village. Capernaum was a bustling little hub of commerce.

It will all pass away. The skyscrapers of Charlotte, of Atlanta, of Manhattan—they will pass away. They will burn or fall or something, someday.

I am as big a Baltimore Orioles fan as anyone. But I will never forget the Saturday morning a couple years ago when I took a run down 33rd Street for the first time in about a decade. I had to stop dead in my tracks and gape in stunned silence. I found myself staring at a huge grassy field that badly needed mowing.

Memorial Stadium had ceased to exist. The huge coliseum where I had cheered for Eddie Murray and Brooks Robinson when I was in the fourth grade, and the seemingly endless parking lot where my aunt parked the Dodge Dart in a sea of cars: Bees were buzzing, flies flying. Not a sound. The center of everything, where the guys from Barry Levinson’s Diner would have gone to see Johnny Unitas play (if they had been real people): reduced to nothingness.

“Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven?”

Will Camden Yards be preserved for all eternity in heaven? I think it’s pretty likely that someday Camden Yards, and M&T Stadium, and every boutique ballpark in North America—they will all be in ruins, underwater, forgotten.

And in heaven all the saints who prayed, who repented of their sins, who loved and feared God: they will be watching something infinitely more interesting than even the playoffs.

One thought on “Whither Capernaum and Camden Yards?

  1. Father Mark,

    Try this one on for size. When I was in the 4th & 5th grade, I went to Montebello Elementary School Annex at 33rd St. & Loch Raven Blvd. (yep, right next to City High School, in the basement of Eastern — all girl — High School) for almost a year (probably 1949-50), I listened to the pile drivers beat the piles for the soon-to-be Memorial Stadium into the ground. And then, I got to watch as the stadium rose from that foundation. I saw Brooks the day he and the Orioles first came to town. I watched him and the “O’s” play in the stadium; and I watched the BALTIMORE Colts play there, Navy-Notre Dame play there. There, in Memorial Stadium, I got to watch Johnny U. and the Colts submerge the Giants for the 2nd year running in the NFL Championship Game for the 1958 season (my parents and brother had watched them the year before in New York).

    And now, it’s gone, having come into existence and then been eradicated from this world in my lifetime.

    “Out, out, brief candle! Life’s but a walking shadow,…..”

    In God we trust.



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