What is my Galilee?
In his Easter homily in 2014, Pope Francis spoke about what he calls each person’s ‘personal Galilee’. Galilee is the area in the Holy Land, Israel, where Jesus spent his adult life. In the little towns and villages and in the countryside around the Sea of Galilee he taught and healed and brought God’s forgiveness and love to people. There, as he wandered from place to place he gave hope to the people he encountered. He restored them to fullness of life when they were marginalised, rejected and cut off from life in any way. He did this in a very personal and indeed intimate way – a touch, a look, a word, forgiveness. It is also where he called people to follow him. Often that call came at an inconvenient moment. We have stories of those who said, ‘Wait, I have something to do first’. Some, on the other hand, leaped up straight away and left everything and followed him into the unknown. Of others, we hear that they just could not respond, it asked too much of them. But to whoever that call came, it was an offer of life, hope, joy. Whoever received that touch, that word, that forgiveness, knew what it was to have life to the full. And from that moment on everything was different.
Pope Francis said: “‘To go to Galilee’ means something beautiful, it means drawing new energy from the sources of our faith and our Christian experience. To return to Galilee means above all to return to that blazing light with which God’s grace touched me at the start of the journey. From that flame I can light a fire for today and every day, and bring heat and light to my brothers and sisters. That flame ignites a humble joy, a joy which sorrow and distress cannot dismay, a good, gentle joy. 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. It means reviving the memory of that moment when his eyes met mine, the moment when he made me realize that he loved me”.
Spirituality and Liturgy Coordinator