Tag Archives: West Bank

inside homebound luggage (2/4)

25 Jun

The jar of apricot jam was the item in my luggage that would have caused the most alarm to airport security and would have been cause for a search. It was solid and cylindrical. A jar of apricot jam can do no harm, but something that shape can.

There was evidence of a search into my luggage, but the jam and the jar made it home with me, a little later than I arrived, due to a quick shift of flights but not as quick shift of luggage, but nonetheless safely.

The jam is from Beit Jala, an area in the West Bank of Palestine, known for its apricots. The jam was from a Palestinian friend and family, a people known for their hospitality and generosity. It is being treasured, one taste at a time, for it brings me back to my beloved Beit Jala and back into the hearts and homes of my friends. It all tastes so good!

Notice the seeds in the jam, not really the seeds but the kernels from within the seeds. The apricot seed has a soft and sweet kernel. When added to the jam, the kernels  give a bit of a crunch and a hint of almond nut flavor.

Homemade and handmade, the gift of friends – sweet!! 

apricot jam

 

How can this be?

8 Apr

Beit Jala jen holy land 964 (237)

Our sister parish of the Annunciation, located in Beit Jala (Bethlehem), West Bank, Palestine, celebrates her feast day today: the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord.

Here in Milford at St. Andrew we will pray in our evening Mass that, through the intercession and care of the Virgin Mary, Mother of God and woman of Palestine, God will make good on His every promise to His people in Beit Jala and full their every hope in Him.

On Easter Sunday morning one of our teenagers asked me, “Father, which is the more important day for Christians: Christmas or Easter?” How would you have answered her? She picked Christmas.

On this day, I ask myself, “Which is the more important feast: Christmas or the Annunciation?” I pick the Annunciation. Here is my reasoning. When did God become one of us and one with us? Not when He was born. When He was conceived! The English translation of the Nicene Creed used to be: he was born of the Virgin Mary, and became man. Now we say: he was incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and became man. The word incarnate replaces born. To be born describes the moment of birth. To be incarnate describes the moment of conception. The Word became incarnate – became flesh – in Mary’s womb. All of us – you and I and Jesus – were born. But God took on human flesh; God became human; God was incarnate. And the “incarnation” took place at the moment of conception in the womb of Mary, at the moment when Mary accepted God’s will and desire to become human. On Christmas we celebrate His birth among us. On Annunciation we celebrate His incarnation.

For me, the Annunciation feels like Christmas. It takes me back to Beit jala, and seeing that painting over the altar in their Catholic parish church, dedicated to the Annunciation. It takes me back to meeting Deacon Sleiman (Solomon) Hassan in that very church. It will be his ordination to the priesthood in June that will take me back to my next visit to Beit Jala.

Beit Jala ohio_2012%20(30)

a plan defied

17 Feb

A court in Israel has heard the final arguments on the construction of a separation wall in the Cremisan valley of Beit Jala (West Bank).

I found a link to this video, entitled “Israel plan to wall off West Bank land defied,” on the Facebook page of the Society of St. Yves Catholic Center for Human Rights, which is representing the landowners and the religious community of sisters of the Cremisan valley.

In the video at 1:12 and 1:33 you saw Father Ibrahim, the pastor of the Catholic parish of Beit Jala. Father Ibrahim will be my guest at my parish in Milford in September-October, insha’Allah (God willing/hopefully).

At 1:14 you saw the chalice that a group of pilgrim-teachers left with Father Ibrahim as a gift from us to his parish. We used  the chalice when we celebrated Mass in Cremisan valley. Father Ibrahim has used it every Friday since then, as he has celebated Mass in the same olive grove.