During the homily of the Easter Vigil, Pope Francis encouraged the faithful to obey the angels’ bidding and, like the women who found the empty tomb, to “go to Galilee.”
The Holy Father centered his homily on this command, spoken both by the angels in the empty tomb and then by Jesus himself.
“Galilee is the place where they were first called, where everything began! […] To return to Galilee means to re-read everything on the basis of the cross and its victory. To re-read everything: Jesus preaching, his miracles, the new community, the excitement and the defections, even the betrayal — to re-read everything starting from the end, which is a new beginning, from this supreme act of love.”
The Pontiff suggested that this command, this return to Galilee, “means rediscovering our baptism as a living fountainhead, drawing new energy from the sources of our faith and our Christian experience.”
He noted that, above all, to return to Galilee means “to return to that blazing light with which God’s grace touched me at the start of the journey. From that flame I can light a fire for today and every day, and bring heat and light to my brothers and sisters. That flame ignites a humble joy, a joy which sorrow and distress cannot dismay, a good, gentle joy.
“In the life of every Christian, after baptism there is also a more existential Galilee: the experience of a personal encounter with Jesus Christ who called me to follow him and to share in his mission.”
Highlighting the warmth one feels in this encounter, he expressed that it “means treasuring in my heart the living memory of that call, when Jesus passed my way, gazed at me with mercy and asked me to follow him.”
He added, “It means reviving the memory of that moment when his eyes met mine, the moment when he made me realize that he loved me.”
The Pontiff invited the faithful to ask themselves at that moment, or that evening: “What is my Galilee? Where is my Galilee? Do I remember it? Have I forgotten it? Have I gone off on roads and paths which made me forget it? Lord, help me: tell me what my Galilee is; for you know that I want to return there to encounter you and to let myself be embraced by your mercy.”
The Holy Father said: “The Gospel of Easter is very clear: we need to go back there, to see Jesus risen, and to become witnesses of his resurrection. This is not to go back in time; it is not a kind of nostalgia.” He clarified that rather “It is returning to our first love, in order to receive the fire which Jesus has kindled in the world and to bring that fire to all people, to the very ends of the earth.” (D.C.L.)
On Zenit’s Web page:
Full Translation: http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/pope-francis-homily-at-easter-vigil