A Happy and Holy Easter!

20 April 2014

The Holy Father Pope Francis presided last evening the solemn Paschal Vigil, the "mother of all Vigils," as Saint Augustine defined it. In his homily, the Pope, extending the invitation of the angel to the women who had come to the tomb to honour the Lord's body, invited every Christian to return to the roots, the source of faith: to Baptism and the personal encounter with Christ.

The Pope commented: "A mighty angel says to them: 'Do not be afraid!' (Mt 28:5) and orders them to go and tell the disciples: 'He has been raised from the dead, and indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee' (v. 7). The women quickly depart and on the way Jesus himself meets them and says: 'Do not fear; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me' (v. 10). 'Do not be afraid', 'do not fear': these are words that encourage us to open our hearts to receive the message."

Do not be afraid ... words spoken in St. Peter's Square by John Paul II during the Holy Mass at the start of his pontificate on 22 October 1978: "Do not be afraid! Open, in fact, break down the doors for Christ! To his saving power, open the borders of the Nations, the economic systems, the political systems, the vast fields of culture, of civilization, of development. Do not be afraid! Christ knows 'what is in the heart of man.' He alone knows it!" 

Last evening, in the Easter Vigil, Pope Francis, commenting on the Gospel, said: "Today, tonight, each of us can ask: 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!

'Galilee of the Gentiles' (Mt 4:15; Is 8:23)! Horizon of the Risen Lord, horizon of the Church; intense desire of encounter… Let us be on our way!"

A Happy and Holy Easter!