During the last couple of days we have had the opportunity to visit some extremely ancient sites: Tel Megiddo, Tel Hazor, and Tel Dan. “Tel” is a Hebrew word that means “hill,” and on these hills are cities that go back to the Bronze Age, around 4000 years ago (and even beyond), which is incredible. Some of these places are mentioned in the Bible.
We were guided by Dr. Mario, an expert archaeologist, who instructed and later befriended Bishop Juan Miguel Betancourt. It was enjoyable to see Dr. Mario’s enthusiasm and passion in these tours, especially as he spoke about ancient architecture, trade routes, politics, and life in general in those days. Today, all that remains at these places are the foundations that were laid so long ago.
The last place we visited was Caesarea Philippi, now called Banias. It was at this place that Peter was given his name and the keys. The Lord said, “And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven…” (Matthew 16:18-19).
The “rock” next to which this was proclaimed is no little boulder. It is rather a massive rock formation that towers over the pagan shrines that are built into the side of it below. Peter is the Rock, the foundation on which the Lord Jesus built his Church. Let’s pray that the Church stays grounded on the faith of Peter’s profession, “You are Christ, the Son of the Living God.”