Banias & Migdal

I guess disappointment only comes when you don’t meet your own expectations. So it’s best to have no expectations.

We headed north along the shore of the Sea of Galilee into disputed territory, the Golan Heights, that Israel annexed in 1981, toward ancient Caesarea Philippi, now in ruins. The present town is Banias, almost to the border with Lebanon. And there at the foot of Mt. Hermon is the ancient city … or what remains of it. We came to the Hermon Stream Nature Reserve, site of ancient Caesarea Philippi, capital of the kingdom of Philip, brother of Herod Antipas. Here we came upon the ruins of an ancient temple to the Greek god Pan, which is also the site of another temple to Augustus Caesar.

We headed to lunch at a Lebanese restaurant, can’t remember the name or where. Anyway, I have no photographic evidence either. But the food was good of course. Then we headed south to Migdal, close to the Magdalena restaurant from last evening, to the Magdalene Center to tour the ruins of an ancient synagogue and celebrate Mass.

There is a lot more information on their website: Magdalene Center than I can describe. At Mass today, we reflected on Jesus’ appearance to Mary Magdalene after the resurrection. She was transformed by her encounter with the Lord and became apostle to the Apostles when Jesus sent her to bring the “good news” of his resurrection to the Eleven. We too are sent to proclaim good news. But until we truly encounter Jesus and are transformed by that encounter, we will not be convincing witnesses to the resurrection.

After mass we headed back to Pilgerhaus. Tomorrow after Mass at the Mount of Beatitudes, we depart for points south where we arrive in the old city of Jerusalem within the walls, to the Gloria Hotel for the rest of our stay in Israel.

Rolo B Castillo © 2023

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