I would like to stay longer and soak up the three world’s religion: Islāmic, Judaism, and Christianity. I want to be with the Muslims, Jews, and Christians: and have interfaith dialogue. At the hotel in Jordan, waiting to leave for Canada, I retreated to the balcony to find some peace and quiet, drinking tea and having a smoke. I was facing a beautiful garden and overlooking the Dead Sea. I could see Israel from the balcony. On a bright day, the walls of old Jerusalem is visible. I can imagine the location of Bethlehem, Nazareth and other geographical areas of where ancient time began based on the First and Old Testament. I have covered the places of the Testaments. The Bible will become genuinely alive. The readings during the mass will be more meaningful for my mind can conjure the places where I have visited. This will be my last trip. I am filled with gratitude to my God for making it possible for me to experience the trip of a lifetime. It’s dark. Only a silhouette of the mountain is visible. The lights were flickering across the waters. It’s good to be here, Lord. I started speaking in my mind. Whispering softly, I raised my right arm, waved goodbye. Goodbye, Jerusalem
Oh, what is that? A star? A bright shining star that appeared so close and yet so far. Is it a plane? No, it’s not moving. Mapping the silhouette of the mountain, naming the places, Jerusalem is to my left, that’s Bethlehem, over there is Nazareth. The star is situated above Bethlehem. This must be the star that the Magi saw. Imagine that, and it’s not even Christmas yet. The star is real.
Excitement came rushing out of my body. I must take a picture. Made a quick dash inside the room, grabbed my camera and another pilgrim, Neli, to show her what I see. This scene must have taken at least 15 to 25 seconds. When I went out, the STAR is gone. I was so disappointed and sad that I have no picture to show off. Checked the horizon if anything is floating in the sky. None, it’s pitched dark. Neli gave me “the look” and walked away.
At Frankfurt airport, I pulled Father Priest on the side and told him about my experience. He quietly said in his infinite wisdom that the STAR is meant only for my eyes to see. No camera can ever capture it. I was so moved by his explanation and tears of joy came out.
Imprinted In the heart of my heart is the image of the star. This memory will live forever. I praise you, O Lord, for your works are wonderful. Blessed be God forever.