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Easter Vigil 2021: Pope Francis Encourages The World To Rediscover Grace, Go On A New Path, And Begin Anew

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The Pontiff explained the different meanings and message of the phrase “go to Galilee” in his Easter homily.

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In his second Easter Vigil Homily since the pandemic enveloped the world, Pope Francis once again recalled the story of the women who came upon Jesus’ empty tomb. But while last year’s message was one of strength and courage, the focus was on new beginnings.

Yesterday’s teaching was the ninth Easter message overall of the 84-year-old pontiff, and it centered heavily on the phrase “to go to Galilee.” The man born as Jorge Mario Bergoglio broke down what it meant in three parts, and how the world may relate them to the ongoing global health crisis.  

Starting over

“To go to Galilee means, first, to begin anew,” he says. “For the disciples it meant going back to the place where the Lord first sought them out and called them to follow him. The place of their first encounter and their first love.”

In this way, it is emphasized that Jesus, now risen, was gone ahead of them to their destination. “He stands before them and constantly calls them to follow him. He says to them: ‘Let us start over from where we began. Let us begin anew. I want you to be with me again, in spite of everything.’ In this Galilee, we learn to be amazed by the Lord’s infinite love, which opens new trails along the path of our defeats.”

And starting over is always possible, the Pontiff says. “From the rubble of our hearts, God can create a work of art; from the ruined remnants of our humanity, God can prepare a new history. He never ceases to go ahead of us: in the cross of suffering, desolation and death, and in the glory of a life that rises again, a history that changes, a hope that is reborn,” he encourages.

“In these dark months of the pandemic, let us listen to the Risen Lord as he invites us to begin anew and never lose hope.”

The Sea of Galilee. Photo by Sylvain Brison on Unsplash

Open to amazement

To “go to Galilee” is a reminder that the Lord is not a memory, and, we must set out from the path of indulging in one’s grief, as the women at the tomb came to do. “There is a kind of faith that can become the memory of something once beautiful, now simply to be recalled,” he says, adding that God cannot be filed away as what we do of our childhood memories.  

“Going to Galilee,” he continues, means recalling that once strong faith to be alive. It must “get back on the road,” so to speak, and find new energy. Jesus continues to walk beside us, the Pope says, through trials, hopes, and dreams.

“He opens new doors when you least expect it, he urges you not to indulge in nostalgia for the past or cynicism about the present,” he says. “Even if you feel that all is lost, let yourself be open to amazement at the newness Jesus brings: he will surely surprise you.”

Rediscovering grace

The pope then explains that “going to Galilee” refers to the peripheries where Jesus began his ministry and mission.

“There he brought his message to those struggling to live from day to day, the excluded, the vulnerable and the poor. There he brought the face and presence of God, who tirelessly seeks out those who are discouraged or lost, who goes to the very peripheries of existence, since in his eyes no one is least, no one is excluded,” says the Sancta Papa.  

Saturday’s Easter Vigil Homily was The Pope’s ninth overall. Photo by Ashwin Vaswani on Unsplash

Every person and each face within our community can be a reflection of God’s greatness, the Holy Father teaches, and we can be amazed of the beauty that can be found among the fringes. And that, he says, is the third meaning “going to Galilee”: God’s love is limitless and ever present.

“Having made himself present in the heart of our world, he invites us to overcome barriers, banish prejudices and draw near to those around us every day in order to rediscover the grace of everyday life,” he says.

To close, the Pope encourages those experiencing challenges to hold steadfast in hope, and to remember that Jesus waits for you in Galilee.

“Your expectations will not remain unfulfilled, your tears will be dried, your fears will be replaced by hope,” he closes. “For the Lord goes ahead of you, he walks before you. And, with him, life begins anew.”

The full text of The Pope’s Easter Vigil message may be found here.

Banner photo of the Vatican City by Caleb Miller on Unsplash

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