Land of the Free

church of all nations

…Thanks to the wonders of internet technology, I am sitting here in the empty ballroom of a huge Jerusalem hotel listening to the second quarter of the Redskins-Broncos game. Suprisingly close! Go ‘Skins!

…This morning we celebrated Holy Mass at the rock where the Lord Jesus agonized in the Garden of Gethsemane. The place is enclosed by an evocative Barluzzi church, which is known as the Church of All Nations. It was built by donations from various countries, including the U.S. One of the interior domes is subtly emblazoned with the seal of the United States.

US sealThe Agony in the Garden may be the most important mystery of Christ’s life for us Americans–citizens of the land of the free.

Yesterday in Bethlehem we meditated on the Incarnation. The Son of God united our humanity to Himself, remaining a divine Person. As Fr. Golas put it, the Lord Jesus never agonized about His identity. He always knew His mission, His destiny. He always knew the gracious plan of the Father, a plan for our welfare but for His woe–at least for His woe in Gethsemane.

Christ, knowing all things, freely chose to embrace the will of the Father. In the Garden of Gethsemane, He taught the world what freedom really is.

Christ never agonized about His identity. But He did agonize. He agonized so intensely that He sweated drops of His Precious Blood.

masada
Masada on the Dead Sea
Christ’s perfect freedom did not entail His stopping being human. We human beings do not want to suffer and die.

God truly became man; therefore, He wanted to live and be happy. He did not come to the garden because of some sick death-wish.

“Father, let this cup pass from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours be done.”

Freedom does not allow us to avoid all pain. Our generation of Americans has forgotten that freedom is something noble for which our forefathers suffered and died.

Freedom means doing the will of the Father. Freedom means harmonizing our wills with God’s will. Freedom means trusting God. The most free person is the one who trusts God the most. Trusting in Providence is the consummate act of freedom. The great anthems of our country have sung this truth.

The Father utterly vindicated Christ’s free act of trust. Christ loved life; He did not want to die. But He obeyed the will of the Father to the end. He offered His human life–then the Father gave it back to Him…

…We also visited Masada, where the last Zealots of the first Jewish rebellion held out against the Roman Tenth Legion. The Jews committed suicide rather than surrender.

We conducted a moral analysis of what happened. We concluded that committing suicide was not the right thing to do. Fight to the death, sure. Suicide? No…

…We also visited Qumran, and we floated in the Dea Sea for a few relaxing minutes.