Day full of fun with swimming in the Dead Sea and riding camels. We also renewed our baptismal vows in the Jordan River and toured Qumran.

Lunch in Jericho and Israel Museum. Mass at Notre Dame (homily here). Enjoy.

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A while ago I wrote the Study Guide for Catholic Scripture Study — on Genesis. This section I wrote was so exciting and ironic I had to share it, especially since this is Christmas when God became Man. Here is a small section of what I wrote:

Satan.jpgBut why didn’t God prevent Adam and Eve from sinning? Didn’t this disobedience ruin everything? Didn’t Satan win a great victory over God? Yes and no. It marred the creation of God for the immediate moment, but God always uses evil to bring about a greater good—remember, he is God!

The Catechism asks the same question: “But why did God not prevent the first man from sinning? St. Leo the Great responds, ‘Christ’s inexpressible grace gave us blessings better than those the demon’s envy had taken away.’ And St. Thomas Aquinas wrote, ‘There is nothing to prevent human nature’s being raised up to something greater, even after sin; God permits evil in order to draw forth some greater good. Thus St. Paul says, “Where sin increased, grace abounded all the more”; and the [Easter] Exsultet sings, “O happy fault [of Adam],. . . which gained for us so great a Redeemer!”’” (CCC 412).

Saints1.jpgBecause of the fall God would now become Man, the Ultimate Man who would crush the serpent’s head. And because God became Man, he could now raise Man up to truly be like God! (cf. CCC 460). Peter reminds us that we could now be partakers of the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4).

Satan had lied, but because of God’s greatness, he actually fulfilled the empty lie of Satan in a more spectacular manner than could have been imagined. I suspect Satan is more furious than ever — his grand scheme backfired and man actually became what he had promised in his lie.

 Satan had tempted the first humans with the promise of being like God; now God, because of the fall and his infinite love has dramatically “upped the ante” and actually made it possible for us to really be like God!

What an ironic twist to a seemingly sad, but now magnificent story! Could any science fiction writer tell a more remarkable story—truth is stranger than fiction, and in this case much more cosmic, profound, and eternally real!

Meditate on THAT and have a blessed day!

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All day in Bethlehem. Enjoy!

Fr. James’ excellent Christmas homily in a Cave here.

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Was Jesus Nice?

February 20, 2017

I wish I had a dollar for every time someone has said to me. “That was not very Christ-like.” This response usually comes after being honest to the point of making someone upset.  The implication is that Jesus was a cuddly little nice guy who was always smiling, always accepting with kind words – in […]

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Sailing with Jesus, Capernaum (Hometown of Jesus), Eating St. Peter’s Fish, Visitation, Jerusalem

February 19, 2017

We started the day with Peter, James, Andrew and John on a boat going across the sea of Galilee he. It was a little windy and choppy but a genuine experience. The Mass at Capernaum was especially meaningful today. Knowing that Jesus had healed thousands of people there we had a special healing Mass with […]

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Incredible New Video “From Conception to Birth”

February 19, 2017

Make sure everyone sees this because it is a marvelous argument against abortion. This is new technology that won its inventors the Nobel Prize. It pulls back the curtain on the developing baby and the mystery inside the womb. Hang in there for the first three minutes while he is explaining the technology — the […]

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Mass at Beatitudes, Steve’s Talk on Peter, Druze Lunch, Fr. Jame’s Story and more

February 18, 2017

We started with Mass at Beatitudes overlooking the Sea of Galilee. The excellent homily is <a href=”http://www.yorutube.com/watch?v=mO1MQJJHw4A” target=”_blank”>here</a>. A nice hour drive north to the Lebonese border with Fr. James Conlon telling his vocation story. <img src=”http://www.footprintsofgodpilgrimages.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/IMG_7648-169×300.png” alt=”” width=”169″ height=”300″ class=”alignright size-medium wp-image-1591484″ /> We arrived at Caesarea Philippi where Steve gave his talk and […]

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A Talk with 2 Purposes: Teach Foundations of our Faith & Demonstrate Verbum Catholic Software

February 18, 2017

A while ago I gave a talk in Ann Arbor entitled “The Foundations of our Faith: Scripture, Tradition & Magisterium.” (Watch the video below.) As I love to do, I tied the Old and New Testaments together and showed the continuity that lays the foundation for who and what we are as Catholics today. But my […]

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Met Governor Huckabee in Israel

February 18, 2017

We met this good man in Israel today and he took some with us. Gov. Mike Huckabee does much to help steer our country in ways of morality and conservatism. We thanked him for all the good work that he does for our country – and to keep up the good work. We all applauded […]

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Transfigured, Renewed Marital Vows and Met the Holy Family in Nazareth

February 17, 2017

Great day in Galilee. Started with wild taxi ride up Mount Tabor for Mass and for teaching on the Transfiguration. Another great homily here. Many people very moved. Then to Cana for Renewal of Wedding Vows and Steve’s teaching on John 2. Lunch in Nazareth before arriving at the Church of Annunciation at the cave […]

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Bet You’ve Never Heard of this Heroic, Selfless Woman

February 17, 2017

Remember this lady?Irena Sendler Died: May 12, 2008 (aged 98) in Warsaw, Poland During WWII, Irena, got permission to work in the Warsaw ghetto, as a Plumbing/Sewer specialist. She had an ulterior motive. Irena smuggled Jewish infants out in the bottom of the tool box she carried. She also carried a burlap sack in the back of her […]

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Difference between “Sexual Relations” and “Conjugal Relations” in Relation to Amoris Laetitia

February 16, 2017

Canon Lawyer Ed Peters writes, “Among the fault lines revealed by the ecclesiastical earthquakes erupting after Pope Francis’ Amoris laetitia, we can see, I suggest, how some high-ranking ecclesiastics seem inadequately to understand the differences between “sexual relations” and “conjugal relations”. Most any man and any woman can have sexual relations, of course, but only […]

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Jordan Group at Jesus’ Baptismal Site and Crossing into Israel; Group 2’s Arrival in Israel

February 16, 2017

Today the Jordan group left them on and we drove down to the Jordan River and had Mass on the shores of the river where Jesus was baptized. You can watch/listen to the homily and watch the renewal of baptisms here. Today the Jordan group left them on and we drove down to the Jordan River […]

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Bible Riddle: What Am I?

February 16, 2017

Since we will be here today, I thought this riddle appropriate! But, before you click the link, see if you can figure out this riddle :-) Write to me if you need help; click here to see the answer. Three times I have been divided doing what God had decided. Twice a garment was the […]

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Amazing Petra: World Heritage Site of Stunning Beauty – Full Tour!

February 15, 2017

Colorful gorges, galloping horses, Bedouins and Camel drivers, the Treasury of Indiana Jones’ fame, rock caves and tombs, hot mint tea, multi-colored sandstone corridors 300 feet high – great experience. Many people said they were happy to scratch this one off their “Bucket List.” We also had Mass in one in one of my favorite […]

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Salvation by Faith Alone?

February 15, 2017

Since the days of Martin Luther it has been popular to reduce salvation to a sound bite. Salvation is not by works but by “faith alone.” However, the Bible seems to have another idea. In my book CROSSING THE TIBER I mention a few passages from Scripture to give a more biblical perspective. Here is […]

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