We would like to share with you some important moments during our formation session “Training the Trainers”. It was organized by our Center for Biblical Formation in Jerusalem. Sisters, Brothers, Training the Trainers and Associates and Friends of Our Lady of Sion took part in the session.
The program was rich, and the time between November 24th and December 8th was very full. The first part of the session was at the Ecce Homo and dealt with subjects having to do with Jerusalem, Judaism, Christianity and Islam. We studied texts of the Torah with Rabbi Michael Marmur and midrash with Ester Lapain. Some participants in the session also gave conferences on different topics.
Among the many new lights received during the session, it seems to us that one was very important both in its content and in the way it was presented to us: how the Gospels were formed.
The Jewish context of the Second Temple period as presented by Alain Michel allowed us to situate the plurality of Jewish thinking and life both during the time of Jesus and during the period of the first Christian communities. And thanks to our guide, we “felt” this on our walks both in Galilee and in Jerusalem, going from the Temple Mount to the City of David. What we lived there enabled us to understand Elio’s conferences on the progressive writing of the Gospels, beginning with the end, “the kerygma”, to which was gradually added what was told of the life of Jesus in Galilee, then the childhood narratives, because there was such a great need to know this man who had “died and risen”. With Elio’s talk on Paul, an ordinary man but an exceptional Jew, we were shown Paul’s reality as a Jew belonging to the new “messianic” current of his time, with all the practical difficulties in mixed communities that had to be resolved.
Listening to talks, walking on this Land, seeing the archaeological remains of that period, but also the Jerusalem of today exploding with life, touching nature and smelling the fragrance of the flowers, all this let us enter into the Jewish reality of yesterday and today, whence we came forth and whose promises and mission we share.
During that first week, the weather was so bad that our trip to the desert was canceled. There was an abundance of rain, and the roads were flooded.
For the second week, we moved to the house in Ein Karem, which has now become a real “Sion village”. Our work here concentrated on the study of biblical texts. Anne Catherine and Elio guided our reading, creating links between the New and the First Testaments.
We also went to Galilee for two days. Elio was our guide.
We experienced a very special and moving visit to Yad Vashem with Shlomo Balsam. He shared his personal experience with us and through it, the history of his people.
Our entire program was interspersed with moments of reflection and discussions about formation in Jerusalem. The goal of our work here was to see the possibilities of collaboration with the Biblical Center in Jerusalem.
On Sunday, we discovered a magnificent project at Hadassah Hospital. It is called “A Heart for Peace” and concerns children and adults with a malformation of the heart that is often caused by intermarriage. Only an operation can save their lives. The patients come from the entire area, including the West Bank and Gaza, regardless of their religious and national identity.
We want to let you know about their magnificent work. You can visit their website at this address: www.uncoeurpourlapaix.org
There would be lots of other wonderful things to tell you about, starting with the experience of universality due to the participants’ many countries of origin… That made translators necessary for the work and was at times difficult, but so very useful! The sharing was rich and projects are taking off! Utopia? No, but rather the realism of the urgency to make us radiate our vocation of Sion all around us.
We greet you from Ein Karem.
December 7th, 2014
Martine Querette Associate of Sion, France
Yvonne Schneiders, Associate of Sion, France
Sr. Victorine Mbuyamba-Muanza, nds
Sr. Ania Bodzinska, nds