‘He is not here… he is raised! And he awaits you in Galilee.’
“He is not here… he is risen! This is the message that sustains our hope and turns it into concrete gestures of charity,” Pope Francis proclaimed in his homily for the Easter Vigil in St. Peter’s Basilica, March 31, 2018. He continued with an urgent call to action for the faithful:
“How greatly we need to let our frailty be anointed by this experience! How greatly we need to let our faith be revived! How greatly we need our myopic horizons to be challenged and renewed by this message! Christ is risen, and with him, he makes our hope and creativity rise so that we can face our present problems in the knowledge that we are not alone.”
The Holy Father pointed out that “to celebrate Easter is to believe once more that God constantly breaks into our personal histories, challenging our ‘conventions’, those fixed ways of thinking and acting that end up paralyzing us. To celebrate Easter is to allow Jesus to triumph over the craven fear that so often assails us and tries to bury every kind of hope.”
The Holy Father recalled the “darkness of the night and cold” the disciples faced, the “hours where the disciple stands speechless in pain at the death of Jesus”. And in the terrible hours of the Passion, while Jesus endured pain and suffering, “his disciples dramatically experienced their inability to put their lives on the line to speak out on behalf of the Master”.
Yet, the disciples, the women of the Gospel and even the stone before the tomb shared in the hope that comes with “he is risen”. And Francis reminded the congregation that the challenge to our “conventions” is issued to all of us.
“He is not here… he is raised! And he awaits you in Galilee,” concluded the Pope. “He invites you to go back to the time and place of your first love and he says to you: Do not be afraid, follow me.”