I am writing this on Monday, February 5th, just having returned to the rectory after my accident in
Israel. It is quite a story. Since I am confined to a wheelchair for the next four weeks and have
lots of time, and since I love stories, let me tell you what happened. By the way, after knowing me
for 24 years, you probably realize that if I can have an accident, I will, and if I can get lost, I will.
It all started on the Feast of St. Paul, January 25th, at midnight in a hotel in Tiberias on the Sea of
Galilee. By the way, never again will I suggest that I find St. Paul difficult and the last person with
whom I would want to share a sarsaparilla.
At midnight, a flood broke out in the hotel. A hot water pipe had burst. Ground central was the
rooms of our four priests- think maybe it was a message? There was water everywhere in our
rooms and so we evacuated to the lobby which was slippery and also water filled. Did I say if I
can have an accident, I will have an accident?
Then begins the story of Grace. Despite my protestations, Fr. Rojin and others convinced me to
go to the local emergency room where I discovered that I had indeed fractured my knee and that
I would need a full cast. At that my worry meter kicked in big time. But Fr Rojin, Fr. Roy, another
priest on the trip, and Shine, the owner of the Oasis travel Agency, stayed up all night and were
with me until I got back to the hotel. The next day the group went on to Jerusalem on the bus. Fr.
Rojin and Shine stayed behind with me, and we took a cab to the hotel in Jerusalem. By the way
the Scriptures all talk about going up to Jerusalem. That is because it is indeed a “City on a hill”.
As we approached there was the most breathtaking sunset I have ever seen: dark ominous
clouds everywhere except at the horizon that was ablaze with light.
I had already had my own mountaintop experience the first day at Mt. Nebo in Jordan, the sight
where Moses looked upon the Promised Land even though he would not be allowed to enter it.
So I entered Jerusalem, not on a donkey, but in a wheelchair, with the skies welcoming me.
The next day, I was able to give my third talk to our group. The trip had been billed as a retreat
on which I would give conferences. It was those talks that made my diminished days in Jerusalem.
The parish group was happy to see I was alive and more or less well. I was happy to share
my love of Scripture with them, and the people from outside the parish could see the depth in
which this community loves me. It was all so very powerful and humbling.
Then Fr. Rojin arranged to fly with me back to the States. We landed at JFK and he immediately
jumped on a plane and rejoined the parish group in Israel. He is extraordinary! I went to my sister’s
and returned last Saturday to a rectory transformed into a place to convalesce. So many
people jumped to my aid. No need to worry, Grace upon Grace.