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The Town


the church

The Gospels open their accounts introducing us to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, unmentioned before in the Bible. The humble town in which the Almighty chose his "servant" and bride.

Mary lived by the slopes of the village in her mother's house, who, according to the apochryphal tradition, were St. Anne and Joachin. Here also lived Joseph to whom she was betrothed. And from heaven came word that she was chosen as maiden of the Almighty. She was to be the "Arc of the New Alliance" to carry in her womb the living "Word of God". Here Mary spoke with the messenger of God, she asked the simple human questions in front of the mystery to which she not only was witness but also carrier. Here, in this "flower of Galilee" Joseph started to doubt his spouse and wanted to send her away but wanting to protect her from the gossip of the village. And again the Almighty not only protected his chosen one but also strneghtened the faith of Joseph, the guardian of God's loving ways.

Nazareth is the town that lived the long "awaiting" with the Son of God as one of its children. It is here that "he grew in wisdom"; here that he spent most of his life on earth, here that he started to live the "human experience" sheltered by the loving mother Mary and the caring father Joseph. Here the Sacred family worked its way in a humble house. Here Jesus went to the Synagogue to study the Torah and the Prophets, to Praise the Father. Here he worked with his own hands as a carpenter. From here he went to Jerusalem every year on the Jewish feasts of pilgrimage. And it is from here that he went to the Judean desert to start his public ministry and proclaim the "Good News".

Jesus returned to his hometown Nazareth and, as he did for all the years he lived in town, on Saturday, he went to the synagogue. But his own people were hostile to him, they did not accept one of the town's children. They wanted to throw him from over the cliff! And Jesus left his hometown never again to set foot there.

But after his Death and Resurrection in Jerusalem the people of Nazareth kept alive the tradition of the house where the Annunciation took place. A site of such importance could not remain unknown to the early Christians and above all to the next of kin of the Lord, of Mary and Joseph. It is thanks to them that today we can visit Nazareth and bow in silence to hear the "voice" announcing "Hail Mary". It is thanks to them that you can kneel down and in silence meditate about the great "mystery of love" that evolved on and around the unknown town.

Today Nazareth, political and administrative capital of Galilee, is a busy town with a population made up of christians and moslems. On the outskirts of the historic town a "new Nazaret" (Nazareth Illit) has grown. Dominating the skyline of this lowlying town is the dome over the site of the Annunciation, a gem of architecture which the Franciscans, through the generous help of the christians from all over the world has put up to mark this holy place.

panorama

detail basilica

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Created / Updated Friday, March 25, 2005 at 0:10:38 by John Abela ofm
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