OR us Christians, the story of Jesus is “The Greatest Story Ever Told.” As narrated in the New Testament, his life on earth was dedicated to the salvation of mankind.
During my childhood years, I loved best the Christmas story… of the God-child born in a manger… of the angels announcing the birth of the Savior to the shepherds… of the three kings guided by a star bringing gifts to the Holy Child… The entire narrative appealed to my young mind like a fairy tale.
Fast forward to my school years at St. Theresa’s College… The story of Jesus took on a more profound meaning and I found myself getting more and more fascinated by the gospel stories. However never did it enter my mind to go to these places mentioned in the Bible. I never thought I would get the chance to visit the different settings of the riveting and timeless tale of Jesus’ life on earth.
My first trip to Israel was in 2012 and that first visit awakened in me the desire to further explore the place Jesus called home. I promised to be back one day.
The opportunity came when Korean Airlines (through its super sales executive Ann Momongan) organized a trip to Tel Aviv (one of its new destinations) for its top travel agents. Cherry Lynn Callelero of Grand Holidays coordinated with Meteor Phils. Inc. (represented by Ligaya Tabirao and Mai Ibay Hasan) for an eight-day tour arranged by Israel’s Eternity Travel. We were a total of 4 pilgrims on the trip with Fr. Joseph Yntig of Mandaue’s Gethsemane Parish as accompanying chaplain.
Excitement was in the air as we set forth for our very first destination during the pilgrimage – Yardenit by the River Jordan for the reenactment of baptism where we dipped our feet in the river waters. So thrilling for us because we envisioned the baptism of Jesus by his cousin, John the Baptist in these very same waters. It brought to mind the dove (the Holy Spirit) descending on his head and the voice of God the Father heard saying, “Thou art my beloved Son, with thee I am pleased.”MORE