Capernaum is the place also known as the "city of Jesus". On Saturday, October 10 its doors opened to receive Br. Francesco Patton, Custos of the Holy Land, Franciscan friars and a few participants. All gathered on the shores of the lake where Lord Jesus Christ lived part of His public life.
The Custos of the Holy Land presided over the Solemn Eucharist a few meters from the synagogue where Jesus presented Himself as the "Living Bread". "I am the bread of life, he who comes to me will no longer be hungry and he who believes in me will no longer be thirsty". (John 6: 35)
Br. Francesco Patton said, "Here in Capernaum, Lord Jesus educates to faith, first of all because He preaches, announces the word of God. Whoever listens to the word of Lord Jesus feels this desire to trust Him, to confide in Him and consequently also to believe not only in what He says but in His person; this is what faith is, it is a personal relationship. And from this faith a whole series of consequences are born. We know that, here in Capernaum, Lord Jesus works many wonders; in fact, the feast that we celebrate is the presence, the preaching and the prodigies that Jesus worked in Capernaum."
In his homily, Br. Francesco Patton highlighted some aspects of the preaching of Lord Jesus by the lake, in the synagogue and in the house of Peter. He also spoke about the miracles that Lord Jesus performed. He said, "These wonders are sometimes born to arouse faith, to encourage people to believe; sometimes these wonders are somehow possible, only if one believes in Him; for example, the miraculous fishing, or the centurion, who comes to Lord Jesus for the healing of his servant, or the Resurrection of the daughter of Jairus, the head of the synagogue, or that woman who was afflicted by hemorrhage.
Br. Patton continued, "Therefore faith gives birth, allows Lord Jesus to work miracles and at the same time Lord Jesus' miracles strengthen the faith in people, who understand that through Him, God is present, the Kingdom of God is present and by welcoming Him, God and His kingdom are welcomed".
He went on to say, "But the greatest lesson is to learn to trust Lord Jesus. Then another lesson that comes to us in Coronavirus time is that of the existence of a virus more dangerous than Covid, that of mutual indifference, the virus of lack of trust, of love. Pope Francis himself in his last Encyclical, 'All Brothers', underlined and highlighted this. Capernaum tells us that we must ask to be healed not only from physical evils but above all from these inner evils and these evils that touch our ability to relate to one another and also to God."
At the end of the Mass everyone went in procession through the ruins of the Ancient Capernaum. The city of Jesus, which welcomes thousands of pilgrims from all over the world every year, is now closed due to the pandemic. But from this Holy Place, however, a message of hope departs.
The pilgrimage, which was limited because of the restrictions due to the Coronavirus, saw the participation of Bishop Girelli, Apostolic Nuncio to Israel, as well as priests from various religious communities in the Holy Land.