His Holiness John Paul II

Pilgrimage to the Holy Land, Mount Nebo

I thank God for ineffable gift of Jesus Christ
Holy Father recalls Moses and the New Covenant sealed with the blood of Christ

March 20, 2000

After arrival ceremonies in Amman on Monday, 20 March, the Holy Father went to the Memorial of Moses on Mount Nebo, 25 km. south-west of the Jordanian capital. According to tradition, it was from here that Moses saw the Promised Land after leading the Israelites through the desert for 40 years. Excavations, under the direction of the Studium Biblicum Franciscanum, have brought to light many early Christian churches with splendid mosaic floors. The Holy Father led a brief prayer service and then greeted those present in English. Here is the text of his remarks.

Fr Minister General,
Dear Friends,
Here on the heights of Mount Nebo I begin this stage of my Jubilee Pilgrimage. I think of the great figure of Moses and the Covenant which God made with him on Mount Sinai. I give thanks to God for the ineffable gift of Jesus Christ, who sealed the New Covenant with his blood and brought the Law to fulfilment. To him who is "the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end" (Rv 22: 13), to him I dedicate every step of this journey which I make through the land which was his.
On this first day, I am especially happy to greet you, Fr Minister General, and to pay tribute to the magnificent witness given in this land by the sons of St Francis through the Custody' faithful service in the holy places down the centuries.
I am also pleased to greet the Governor of Madaba and the Mayor of the city. May the blessings of the Almighty be upon the people of the area! And may the peace of heaven fill the hearts of all who join me on my pilgrim path!

(©L'Osservatore Romano - 22 March 2000)