Ascension in the Holy Land

Remember being in the Holy Land?  Remember placing your hand upon the Rock of the Ascension at the traditional site of Jesus’ departure from the earth.  I was a doubter at first.  “How could we really know that this is the place?  I mean, really.”

Our Franciscan Foundation guide must have read my mind. 

How do we know it’s the place?  What would the new believers, those who were being baptized by the thousands, want to know?  ‘Where did he do this?  Where did he do that?  Where exactly was he born?  Where exactly was he crucified?’  Where did he ascend to the Father?  And the Apostles, actual witnesses, would have taken them there and shown them.  

Many of the shrines have archaeological proof that they were in fact the places of reverence and worship since the beginning. Churches have been destroyed.  Forts have been erected- and destroyed.  Churches have again been built over the sites.  Again, they have been destroyed.  Forts built- and destroyed.  Churches built- and destroyed.  But thankfully we’re at a point, at this particular moment in history (and I mean, moment) that the churches exist. 

If you haven’t visited the Holy Land, pray this Solemnity of the Ascension about making a pilgrimage soon.