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
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
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
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.
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