By Fr Daniel O’Connor
Fr O’Connor at the birthplace of Jesus, Bethlehem.
The author is from New Zealand and was ordained in 1986. This article first appeared in the newsletter of the Pakistan Mission Unit of the Columbans. For many years he has been a long-distance runner.
As part of my Silver Jubilee sabbatical year I spent some time last June 2012 in the Holy Land. Descending out of the dark sky into the lights of Tel Aviv was symbolic. The next day
excitement increased as I boarded a bus for Nazareth. Being an adventurous Columban I had a wonderful, humble privilege of walking along the places that Jesus walked, called ‘Hiking the Jesus Trail’ and ‘The Jesus Marathon’.
As I walked through the alleyways and steps of the old city of Nazareth I reminisced that this was where Jesus played, walked, laughed, shed tears and worked for the first 30 years of his life on earth. Seeing children of olive-colored skin playing soccer on the side of the street reminded me that Jesus would have looked like them and played with his friends in those areas and drawn water from ‘Mary’s Well’.