After landing safely in Tel Aviv last night, today was our first day of visiting sites in the Holy Land. Today, we visited Joppa (or Jaffa), a small, ancient city located right outside of Tel Aviv. It is on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea (pictured above), making it a beautiful location – not to mention that it was about 60°F and sunny today. Joppa was named after Noah’s son, Japheth, and is the place where Jonah was fleeing from the will of God (Jonah 1:3).
We celebrated Mass this morning with Fr. Taphorn in St. Peter’s Church. It was here that St. Peter raised Tabitha from the dead and received a revelation from God (Acts 9-10). He saw “something descending, like a great sheet, let down by the four corners upon the earth. In it were all kinds of animals and reptiles and birds of the air” (Acts 10:11-12), and the Lord declared these things to be clean. This is beautifully shown in the painting in the sanctuary (pictured above). Also, it is said that during this time, St. Peter was staying with “Simon, a tanner, whose house is by the seaside” (Acts 10:6), and we were able to visit this place as well.
The central figure of today’s visit was St. Peter, and I’m sure this won’t be the last time he will be mentioned during our pilgrimage. Continue to keep us in prayer, that like St. Peter, we may drop everything in order to follow Jesus.