Holy Land Pilgrimage

To Love God and Love Neighbor

January 25, 2020

After visiting the Church of the Nativity, I had a brief conversation with a gentleman that we met on our way. I shared with him that I was a seminarian on pilgrimage in the Holy Land. He then said, “I am happy that you are becoming a priest. We are all trying to have a connection with God and we need faith to teach us how to live a dignified life.” Those words taught me that sincere faith needs to lead to a dignified life; our actions and words cannot be separate.

From reading the news, I did not know what to expect upon arrival into the Holy Land. During our visits to the holy sites and local shops, I have found the people to be friendly and warm and welcoming. I thought it was because we were tourists and they wanted something from us. However, I was wandering with some friends and ended up in a residential area. I saw some of the harsh living conditions that the people suffer. Despite this, all the people I met there were also friendly and helpful and smiled at us.

Jesus Christ taught us to love God and love our neighbor. Christ loves every single one of us and gave himself for all humanity. The people I met were not necessarily from the same religious background as me. However, I believe we were still able to get to know each other and love each other.

Mauricio Espino
Diocese of Las Vegas
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