By Father Timothy Gollob
Special to The Texas Catholic
As the world peeked in at the preparations and the schedule of Pope Francis’ visit to the Holy Land, there were many speculations made concerning what impact this pilgrimage would have for peace and for unity in the Middle East.
There were guesses that he would visit the chapels and the churches which have been constructed in the locations where various events narrated in the Bible were remembered and venerated. Over the years each of these venues have been embellished with new interpretations of the event.
One writer mentioned that there were new shrines at the Shepherd’s Field and at the place where Jesus wept over Jerusalem and at the shrine at Mt. Tabor. From my trips to the Holy Land in 1958 and in 1972 I vividly remembered the old shrines in these places.
My slides are my memories. At Shepherd’s Field a Jordanian soldier is standing at the door of the chapel. At Dominus Flevit (the Lord Wept) my slide taken from the inside showed the whole city of Jerusalem in the picture window behind the altar. At Mt. Tabor the alabaster roof let in a brilliant flood of sunlight to illumine the mosaic of Jesus behind the altar.
I don’t know what the pope saw, but it certainly was a new and different Holy Land.
But that is right and just. The dust from the sandals of the Apostles is the same, but all the buildings and all the people are new.
One new thing was the wall which divides the country. The pope made it one of his most symbolic gestures to stop and pray at that new item. We can imagine that the prayer was one for harmony and peace.
Robert Frost wrote in one of his poems: “Something there is that doesn’t love a wall; that wants it down.” Pope Francis has led us in a similar prayer because good fences don’t make good neighbors. Only good prayer can do that.
Father Timothy Gollob is the pastor of Holy Cross Catholic Church in Oak Cliff.