By Robin Gomes
In the hour of darkness when humanity is grappling with the pandemic and other ills, Christians need to take to heart the Easter message of the angel not to be afraid, assured that in Galilee where the Lord precedes them, their expectations will be fulfilled, their tears will be dried and their fears will be replaced by hope. Pope Francis made the point in his homily at the Easter Vigil Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica Saturday night.
Reflecting on the Easter episode of the women at the tomb, the Pope drew attention to what the angel told them. “Wonder at hearing the words: ‘Do not be afraid!” the Pope said. “You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen’. And a message: ‘He is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see Him’.”
Always possible to begin anew
After the initial rite of the blessing of the fire and the Paschal candle inside the basilica, Pope Francis and the concelebrants proceeded towards the altar of the chair, with a deacon bearing the lit Easter candle. During the procession in the darkened church, the flame of the candle was first passed on to the Pope and then gradually to the concelebrants and the limited number of faithful. After the Pope walked up the main aisle, the basilica’s lights were switched on.
Ushering in the 9th Easter of his pontificate, the 84-year-old pontiff in his homily reflected on what it means to go to Galilee. First of all, it means to begin anew. Galilee was the place of the first encounter of the disciples with the Lord, their first love. It was here that they listened to Him preach and perform miracles. It was also where they misunderstood His words and in the face of the cross abandoned Him and fled.
In spite of everything, the Lord invites them to start over from where they began. “In this Galilee,” the Pope said, “we learn to be amazed by the Lord’s infinite love, which opens new trails along the path of our defeats.”