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Find out pertinent information such as --why the apostle Matthew kept records. Where Capharnaum is. View the Sea of Gallilee where he walked on the water and much more in the following story!


©-2016 By Father Paul and Gypsy Quill

Narrated by Father Paul


This is a story about a group of people that travelled from the United States to the Holy City of Jerusalem, to see in person first hand, the places that Jesus roamed!

We viewed some pictures that were taken in Jerusalem and around Nazareth. He explained where the pictures were taken and their connection to actual events that took place and were written about in the Biblical times of Jesus, Mary and Joseph.


Father Paul Narrates …


“Capharnaum is a fishing village on the north side of the Sea of Galilee. The reason it was important is that people traveling from Syria… Babylon would have had to pass there and pay taxes (St. Matthew was there). That is where Jesus healed Peter’s mother-in-law too.”

     Father Paul informed me that the apostle Matthew kept records on people’s taxes and payments. That is where he did that work—in Capharnaum. That said… it makes perfect sense that Matthew would have been one of the apostles to keep records on what Jesus said. I had never known this my entire life that he was a tax book keeper. I have always noticed that Matthew was one who quoted Jesus a lot, in the Bible. The apostle was an expert at keeping records. It was this enlightenment that led me to ask for this story.

      One thing I want to point out before going further, is that, a lot of people of today tend to think of the culture of people in that area of the world and at that time, as being uneducated and barbaric. There were those types, but there were educated people too! The fact that Matthew was a professional Tax collector/book keeper shows this evidence. Also you could refer to the Roman Empire. Why?? It is because the Roman Government under Julius Cesar was the strongest and wealthiest empire in the world at the time! They were very intelligent and educated.

    Some people who question the Bible, might argue that Matthew could not have been organized enough to keep records that well.  I would say to those people to look at what his job was!! Further Jesus and the apostles were very organized and kept a lot of records from the beginning.

      The priest continued … “Capharnaum is near the mount of the beatitudes as well.” Pertaining to the next picture we viewed he continued … “this is the church of the Nativity of Jesus… That is the place where they believe Jesus was born… Then built an ancient church upon the place… Under that veil is the bare ground that you can touch and pray… We sang “o come all ye faithful” it was pretty nice.  I think the Church goes way back to the first centuries… Probably the 3 or 400’s because Christianity was illegal until 313.” Paul informed and continued …“Most other ancient churches were destroyed. This is the oldest one! Most were destroyed by the Muslims in later centuries.”

I want to add that the fact that the “Church of the Nativity” is the oldest of ancient churches, confirms that it was the first! And it makes further sense that Father Paul said that it probably goes back to the 3 or 400’s … to me, because Jerome did not complete the Latin Vulgate until 405 A.D. But he spent most of his life time compiling it. He began as a young man and I believe he passed in his 70’s. He was commissioned by an Italian King. My guess would be that the “Church of the Nativity” of Jesus goes back to the era Father Paul has aforementioned.        

Nevertheless, the knowledge gained that it is the oldest (first) and thought to rest over the place where Jesus was born makes it special! That is, if it is the birth place of Jesus Christ. This would be worth researching more to make sure! If we could find factual evidence that the “Church of the Nativity of Jesus,” is where the manger in which Jesus was born originally stood. I know there was an Inn near the manger that was full and had no vacancies, and is why 1. Mary and Joseph stayed in the manger in Bethlehem. 2. Why people brought them gifts for them and the Christ child because they were literally “out in the cold.” My questions would be—what was the name of the Inn and where was it located??

“The Romans destroyed the Jerusalem temple in 70 AD.” Father Paul continued.

I asked, was it because the Jewish worshiped differently than the Church of the Nativity of Jesus?

“The Romans destroyed the temple in 70 in reaction to Jewish revolts against the Roman rule. Christians were not large enough a group at that time to play too large a factor. The Jews worshiped differently than the Romans and so punishment was to build pagan temples over the sacred Jewish and even Christian sites on the temple mount.”

I had to ask if the Romans were for or against the Church of the Nativity.

“The Church of the Nativity probably did not exist until the fourth century… but if it did before then, they would have been against it. It is in the 4th century when Christianity had become legal. At that point Romans were for the Church, since Christianity became legal and even preferred under the Emperor Constantine.”

My thoughts here are that since the first church did not get destroyed under the Roman rule is that … either Christianity had become legal by the time the Romans found it, or, it was a miracle, heaven sent. But Father Paul continued his narration and on to the next picture we were viewing.

“This is the hill country of Judea where Mary went to meet Elizabeth … when John jumped in Elizabeth’s womb at the presence of Jesus in Mary’s womb. The Bible says she went “to the hill country” so in this picture we can see what it was like.”

When you look at a picture of a place it is just a picture. But when you understand the meaning of it—it becomes special! Likewise when you look at these pictures and understand where they are and events that took place that are written about in the Bible, to me, it is a blessing to be able to see them which helps them have more meaning … in terms of what the Bible said.

“This is the Church of the Visitation. They call it “The Visitation” when Mary visited Elizabeth ... that was the village where they lived!”

He exclaimed.

     “That’s our group… We did not lose anyone thanks be to God!”

      Viewing the picture of the group it is such a large group of people it would be very easy for someone to come up missing and lost in another country they were not familiar with.

“This is Beth-any (means house of the poor man) Beth = house/

Any = poor man.”

He was explaining the meaning of the word Bethany as he was showing me a picture of Lazarus’ tomb because Bethany is outside of Lazarus’ tomb. I'm sure you have heard of the Bible story of how Jesus raised Lazarus back from his death.

Father Paul went on …. “Beth= house/ lehem = bread. Bethlehem means “House of bread.” Jesus is the “bread of life!””

I asked him, wasn’t Jesus born in Bethlehem? And is that where the Church of the Nativity is—in Bethlehem?

“Yes… that’s correct. I was just referring to the fact that both names begin with the word “Beth” which means “house of.”

In my mind I was correlating the Manger and “The Church of the Nativity”. But I didn’t want to get into detail about that as we didn’t have much time as I had to interview him over lunch. It was all the time he had. So this was rushed but a great accomplishment!

“So in Bethany we went to Lazarus’ tomb. This picture is from the inside of the tomb!” He concluded. Then he continued … explaining the next picture.

“This is the Church in Bethany …the mosaic there you can see Jesus speaking to Martha and saying “I am the resurrection and the life.” (John 11)

“This picture is me and Fr. Matt outside Lazarus’ tomb.”

I stopped him and asked him the name of the aforementioned church.

“I don’t know the name of the Church… but it is the one with the mosaic on the ceiling of Jesus speaking to Martha and Mary.” He concluded.

“This is the Jordan River where Jesus was baptized… So we had Mass on the shore and then brought everyone down to renew their baptismal vows, and yes… We all got wet. Four priests were there … Good guys!”

When he said “good guys” he grinned from ear to ear, that is his humor, because … Father Paul was one of them!! But I must say, I agree because he is the best of the “good guys”, I know.

I thought that was very cool!! I wish I could renew my baptismal vows in the Jordan, how special that must have been especially for the four priests, but as well as the whole group.

“That’s the mount of the temptation of Jesus… when he was tempted for forty-days and nights in the desert.”

Of course he is referring to the Bible story of when Satan tempted Jesus in the desert to test him.

“This is mount Carmel… Where Elijah fled and hid in a cave in the Old Testament. It’s a cave… And they built an altar above it… It is pretty high up a mountain!

“This is in Nazareth now… Where Mary lived… The place of the visit of Archangel Gabriel to Mary… “The Annunciation” ... The moment God entered the world in Jesus within Mary’s womb.

“It is a very powerful and prayerful place. The picture is called “Annunciation Chapel”.

I asked if he had a picture of all of Nazareth.

“Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture of Nazareth. I was not as attentive there to taking pictures.”

He was explaining the aforementioned while showing me the picture of the “Annunciation Chapel.”

      “Up the way is where Joseph lived… Very nice to see the old excavated First Century streets—dirt--streets… This too is something I don’t have pictures of … so I just tried to describe it. There was just an adjacent church… but with a basement that showed the original First Century ground. “

      He was describing this place of the Annunciation of Gabriel to Mary, and that it was in the area of which was near “where Joseph lived.”

      He continued to explain the pictures. “This church here is Cana… Where the wedding feast was, the one where Jesus did his first miracle. This one is called “Cana Church.”

“This is a water jar… Jesus turned water into wine… And it would have been a huge jug like this…very big!

     “This is the inside of the Church… Many people go there to have their vows renewed.” He concluded.

“This is the inside of the “Church of the Transfiguration”… Up high on Mount Tabor. Only 80 years old or so but very nice! The mountain is pretty high… You can see the whole region.

“This was Peter’s fish, for lunch!!! Regular bread… but it was tasty!

    “We took a boat across the Sea of Galilee… Where Jesus walked on water, where the storm at sea was… Where James and John left their father Zebedee… Where peter lived! It is very historic with scripture.

     “This is back in Jerusalem… This is the western wall/wailing wall… The base is from the temple where Jesus would have come to. It was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD.

     “It is an important place for Jewish people to visit especially.

     “Above is the Temple Mount where there is now a mosque.

“That’s the same mountain… The old ancient city of Jerusalem is still there, the part that is within the ancient stone walls.

     “This is Calvary… A church was built over it… Where Jesus was crucified… Those are original stones of the hill. That’s the same hill!”

“That’s the holy sepulcher… That dome is over where Jesus was buried and rose… The area of Calvary was an old quarry … They dug tombs in that stone there… And so it was a good place for crucifixions… because it was outside the city walls (no need to remove the body). The other thing is that when visitors would come and see people crucified, they’d be getting a message from the authorities. … Not to break the law.”

Jesus was intimidated in public by the Romans.

“Yes… It was in a public place for that reason…“Intimidation and fear.”

“That’s the place where it happened… We saw where they believe he was condemned… And then walked the “Via Dolorosa” or way of the Cross to Calvary… Where he walked with the cross, met his mother, Simon Cirene, Veronica, where he fell three times. We prayed the whole walk… It was very moving and this is where we finished up… truly beautiful!!”

I want to remind everyone that before Jesus carried the cross, he had been scorned by the Roman Soldiers. They had beat a thorn crown into his head making fun of him calling him, “The King of the Jews.” For those who don’t know … to scorn him was when they took a whip and literally tore off his flesh with the whip consistently until his skin had been removed from almost his whole back. So when he carried the cross walking the “Via Dolorosa,” the torture had been immense already! He was weak.

“This is the ground underneath within the Church… At Calvary! You can see a break in the rock. Remember the Bible saying there was an earthquake?”

Yes I remember a part where it says the earth trembled, and that the sky became black.

“There were plenty of people … Even a class of people called scribes and historians… There are many manuscripts… They kept records.”

Are you saying where that broken rock is from Calvary where he was crucified, that there are still old records that were kept by plenty people such as scribes??

“I am referring to many people’s recollections and writings attesting to the fact that this is where Jesus died. As for the broken rock… it is likely impossible to tell for sure… but that break could be from an earthquake… the Scripture mentions an earthquake… so many hold that to be the source of the break in that rock.“

      In my research of the Vulgate and the records kept, I found out the Scribes, who were hired by the King’s court, wrote and re-wrote records when need be over time. The reason was the paper back then was thinner than paper of today and did not last more than ten years. The Scribes would re-write the old records for the King and if it wasn’t exact, the King would make them do it again! That was there job. These were some of the people that Father Paul was referring to when he mentioned scribes. And then there were others that kept records too, besides the apostles! Plenty records were kept over centuries. This is why Jerome was hired to compile the books of the Bible into one! It was written in Latin because at that time, Latin was the most popular language in the world. Italian and Spanish languages both come from Latin, which is their mother tongue.

“This is the hill outside Jerusalem… where Jesus wept for Jerusalem… looking at the city. He predicted the distraction of the temple as well.

     “Down in the valley is where the Garden of Gethsemane was… The valley is called the Kidron Valley.

“Where the dome is… Is where the temple was.

“That’s a rock in Gethsemane perhaps where Jesus prayed the hour before he died…the Thursday after celebrating the last supper.

     “Three were with him… They slept—Peter, James and John, the same 3 who went up the mountain of Transfiguration.

     “The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.” The priest quoted.

     “That’s where he was arrested. Further down the Kidron valley is where Judas Iscariot hung himself…”

      I will conclude that… Judas was the one who turned Jesus in … to the Roman soldiers as to where he was, so they could arrest him. But I also want to say here, that the very culture, The Romans, who crucified Jesus, later would support The Church and become the seat. For Peter was appointed as the head of the church, by Jesus, and was the first pope. Pope is Italian for Papa, or Father—meaning—head of the house. In this case- head of the house—meaning the house of God/church! You can trace back the line of popes from present day all the way back to Peter. And his Basilica was built in Rome!

     When you understand the wisdom you gain from the word of God, it becomes a tool for you to use. You begin to see more explicitly the wrong of the world, and also the right of the world. That is, you are able to distinguish more clearly, between the two.