Happy Easter! It may be somewhat difficult to embrace the joy of what we celebrate with Easter when we have an ailing pontiff, a war in Ukraine, mass shootings in schools…That is a lot of darkness! BUT, this weekend’s scriptures really can help. In Matthew’s Gospel, the Easter story begins in darkness. Mary Magdalene and others go to the tomb. They go in darkness, but not just literal darkness, also the spiritual/emotional darkness of grief, fear, and hopelessness.
When they arrive, an angel tells them that Jesus has been raised and that they are to Go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ On the way, they run into Jesus, and he says ‘Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.’ My Brothers!? Hadn’t all these guys scattered? They were overwhelmed as well by the darkness of their shame, fear, and grief.
Why Galilee? It was there that they first were called. It was there that they first took on the work of Jesus’ vision. It was there that they dropped everything, nets and all, to follow him. And so Jesus calls them back to their first days with Him to help them truly know that from now on, every day will be infused with divine newness, with resurrection. With a solid, eternal victory over sin, death, hell.
It is in Galilee where grief, fear, and hopelessness are transformed. It is in Galilee that this broken group experiences reconciliation and healing. They encounter the Light of Easter. They receive a new beginning, the new call to preach the very good news – the Gospel of Easter.
We are invited to this Galilee today! The Risen One calls all of us mired in darkness to step into His Light. Let’s take any darkness we may be experiencing and bring it to Jesus. First, identify the darkness: the struggle of sin, the difficult decision you need to make, the illness, the broken relationship, the crisis, etc. Next, go back to your Galilee where you first encountered Christ and were on fire for serving the Lord. Let’s experience the “new beginning” of the first disciples. Open your heart and spirit to Jesus today and let him create in you a new beginning with his forgiveness, mercy, and compassion. This will devour the darkness. Hear his words anew: “Go and make disciples of all nations…. I am with you always” (see Mt. 28:19-20). Push aside the fear and extend that forgiveness, mercy, and compassion Jesus offers to someone else. That will truly allow you to embrace the joy of what we celebrate. I say it again…. Happy Easter!