Friday, March 22, 2013

The Mount of the Sermon on the Mount

Matthew 5: 1-12

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:

 ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

 ‘Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

 ‘Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

 ‘Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

 ‘Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.

 ‘Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

 ‘Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

 ‘Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

 ‘Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

No Martinis, Big Lips, or '70's Basketball Shorts please!
Between Tabgha and Capernaum, which was the major trade route along the north rim of the Sea of Galilee, there is the Mount of the Beattitudes, where Jesus preached his famous Sermon on the Mount.

Remains of a Byzantine era church were found here in 1935. The Franciscans decided to actually not build over the older ruins, and instead built a beautiful church chapel with Octagonal Walls (for the 8 Beattiudes with the 9th inside the Dome) up the way overlooking the "Mount" of the "Sermon on the Mount."

The acoustics on this mountain are truly phenomenal. Someone from the top can speak in a reasonable tone of voice, and it will reverberate all the way down into the valley very clearly. It is really kind of odd, but there is truth in the fact that Jesus could have preached a sermon on this mount, contrary to Monty Python's skit seen here (I just couldn't resist):

 One will notice how the Monty Python depiction above depicts the place as this rocky and barren dessert. Actually, it was a very lush place, at least in modern times. In fact, at the bottom of the valley there was a whole banana plant plantation bearing fruit and there were olive groves everywhere. It was almost like a jungle in fact. Again, perhaps that is due to modern irrigation and agriculture, but being as that area was a rich trade route, one can imagine that it was not nearly as barren as it is usually depicted as in popular media.

Pezman419's Mount of Beattitudes album on Photobucket

This was actually one of my favorite places we visited because it was actually peaceful and not completely overrun with yappy tourists and we had a bit of time to just wander around the beautiful Franciscan courtyard. As you can see, the overlook was phenomenal.

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