Tuesday was a big day for my unofficial “Footsteps of Mary” pilgrimage. Our visit to Nazareth included glimpses of the remnants of not one but two first-century homes where Mary may have lived: one as a young girl visited by the Angel Gabriel, and another as a young mother raising her very special son.
Archaeologists think Nazareth probably had only about 30 houses at that time, so the odds are good that we were standing in a place at least visited by the Holy Family.
Over Mary’s girlhood home now stands the great Basilica of the Annunciation, adorned with images of the Virgin from many countries. To be here on pilgrimage is to experience the breadth and depth of the communion of saints, joining Christians across the centuries and around the world coming to these holy places, feeling the nearness of Jesus’ human life and the thinness of the veil between earth and heaven.
We also walked to St. Gabriel’s Greek Orthodox Church, the site of Mary’s spring, where she and the other women of Nazareth came to get water, and we ate lunch in Cana, where Jesus turned water into wine.
Holy God, we magnify your Name for calling the blessed Virgin Mary to bear your Word of hope to the poor, the hungry, and those who have no voice: Give us grace and strength to proclaim your Good News in every age, with every tongue; through Jesus Christ our Savior, in the power of your Holy Spirit. Amen.