Returning to Galilee
The Gospels have compiled memories of three admirable women who, at dawn following the Sabbath, have gone to the tomb where Jesus was buried. They cannot forget him. They continue to love him more than anyone else. Meanwhile, the men have fled and keep hiding perhaps. The message they hear when they get there is of exceptional importance. The oldest Gospel tells it like this: “You seek Jesus, the crucified. He has been raised; he is not here.” It is a mistake to look for Jesus in the world of death. He is alive forever. We will never be able to find him where life is dead.
We must not forget it. If we want to meet the risen Christ, full of life and creative power, we should not look for him in a dead religion that is reduced to the external fulfillment of precepts and routine rituals, or in an extinguished faith whose support is in worn-out clichés and formulas that are empty of a living love for Jesus.
Where, then, can we find him? The women receive this commission: “Go quickly and tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him.” Why is there need to return to Galilee to see the Risen One? What deep meaning is contained in this invitation? What is it saying to us Christians today?
They heard in Galilee, for the first time and in all their purity, God’s Good News and the Father’s humanizing project. If we do not listen to them again today with a simple and open heart, we may be feeding on venerable doctrines, but we will not know the joy of Jesus’ Gospel, capable of “bringing back to life” our faith.
On the shores of the Sea of Galilee, Jesus began to call his first followers in order to teach them to live his way of life and to work with him in the great task of making life more human. Jesus continues calling today. If we do not listen to his call and if he does not “go before us,” towards where is Christianity headed?
The first community of Jesus kept developing on the roads of Galilee. His followers live a unique experience at his side. His presence fills everything. He is the center. With him they learn to live to welcome, to forgive, to heal life and to awaken trust in God’s unfathomable love. If we do not put Jesus in the center of our communities as soon as possible, we will never experience his presence in our midst.
If we return to Galilee, the “invisible presence” of the risen Jesus will take on human features as we read the Gospel stories, and his “silent presence” will regain its concrete voice when we hear his encouraging words.
José Antonio Pagola
April 20, 2014
Easter Sunday (A)
Matthew 28, 1-10