Celebrating the 9th Easter of his pontificate, Pope Francis delivered a homily at the Easter Vigil Mass, 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’.”
Galilee, an outpost farthest from the ritual purity of Jerusalem, was where Jesus began His mission. There, He brought His message to “those struggling to live from day to day, the excluded, the vulnerable and the poor”. It is in such peripheries that God tirelessly seeks out those who are discouraged or lost. He goes to the “very peripheries of existence, since in His eyes no one is least, no one is excluded”. Thus, the Risen Lord is asking His disciples to go to the settings of daily life, the streets we travel every day, the corners of our cities. “There the Lord goes ahead of us and makes Himself present in the lives of those around us, those who share in our day, our home, our work, our difficulties, and hopes.” The Pope said, “We will be amazed how the greatness of God is revealed in littleness, how His beauty shines forth in the poor and simple.”
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.