Finding my way back to Galilee with Pope Francis

by | Aug 26, 2022 | Formation, Reflections

I found my path back to Galilee with the help of Pope Francis. For me, it was by way of a homily he preached in Canada.

Interesting… since I had not even thought of returning to Galilee! But in Canada, he said, “Each one of us has our own “Galilee,” the place of the initial proclamation.  We need to rediscover this memory.”

In this Vincentian Mindwalk, I explore his earlier call in the Easter vigil 2014

A repeated plea –  “Go back to Galilee

The Gospel of the (feast) of the resurrection of Jesus Christ begins with the journey of the women to the tomb at dawn on the day after the Sabbath.

After the death of the Master, the disciples had scattered; their faith had been utterly shaken, everything seemed over, all their certainties had crumbled and their hopes had died.

… the women had heard it twice, first from the angel and then from Jesus himself: “Let them go to Galilee; there they will see me”. “Do not fear” and “go to Galilee”.

Why return to Galilee?

Galilee is the place where they were first called, where everything began!  To return there, to return to the place where they were originally called.  Jesus had walked along the shores of the lake as the fishermen were casting their nets.  He had called them, and they left everything and followed him (cf. Mt 4:18-22).

To return to Galilee means to re-read everything on the basis of the cross and its victory, fearlessly…  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.

For each of us, too, there is a “Galilee” at the origin of our journey with Jesus.

In the life of every Christian, after baptism, there is also another “Galilee,” 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.

 In this sense, returning to Galilee 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.

To return there means reviving the memory of that moment when his eyes met mine, the moment when he made me realize that he loved me.

Our Galilee

What is my Galilee?  I need to remind myself, to go back and remember.

Where is my Galilee?  Do I remember it?  Have I forgotten it?

Seek and you will find it! There the Lord is waiting for you.

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. Do not be afraid, do not fear, return to Galilee!

The Gospel 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.  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.  Go back to Galilee, without fear!

“Let us be on our way!

Do Francis’ words trigger something in you?

Originally posted on Vincentian Mindwalk