Holy Land Pilgrimage

The Call to Inner Conversion

January 26, 2020

We have been in the Holy Land for about a week and there is no shortage of adventures! Today, we visited Ein Karem, a very special place in our Christian faith.

We celebrated mass at the Church of the Visitation, the place where Mary visited her cousin Elizabeth on the hill country of Judea (Luke 1:39). Afterwards, we headed out to the birthplace of John the Baptist, on a hill on the other side of the town. We concluded our day by visiting Ain el Habis, the place traditionally held to be where John the Baptist lived in the wilderness. At this site, the pilgrims demonstrated their determination to avail themselves to receive graces. Access roads to this hidden church were under construction, but the pilgrims took the risk to create paths where there were no paths in order to visit where John the Baptist lived and where his mother Elizabeth is said to have been buried. We hiked through rocks and mud and, thankfully, no one was hurt!

On this special day of our journey of faith, we have been drawn to several mysteries and very prominent figures in the scriptures. Wherever we are at, the Lord is inviting us to an inner conversion; to begin to put our faith into practice like Mary who took the risk to travel several miles to go visit her cousin and help her upon just hearing that she was pregnant with John the Baptist. John the Baptist continues this call to conversion in his ministry and points us to the one whom he describes as unfit to undo his shoes. Let us, therefore, invoke the saints surrounding our pilgrimage today: St. Mary, St. Elizabeth, and St. John the Baptist to intercede for us that we may truly have that inner conversion that leads to a complete transformation into the person of Christ in order to become better Christians in our journey of faith.

Tony Famave

Diocese of San Jose

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