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Return to place of first encounter with Christ for Easter, Pope preaches

In his homily for the Solemn Vigil of Easter on Saturday night leading into Easter Sunday in Rome, Pope Francis reminded the congregation, which included catechumens who would receive the sacraments of initiation (baptism, confirmation, and first Eucharist) at the Vigil, that celebrating and commemorating the Resurrection of Jesus means that we ourselves may be “returned” to the place in our lives when Christ first called us or we had an intimate encounter with him, just as he told the women at the tomb to tell the disciples to return to Galilee, where he first called them. “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,” the Pope reflected, “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.”

Pope Francis has said that Easter invites each of us to return to the place of our first encounter with the Lord Jesus.
Pope Francis has said that Easter invites each of us to return to the place of our first encounter with the Lord Jesus.Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images

“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,” the Pontiff preached, “it means reviving the memory of that moment when his eyes met mine, the moment when he made me realize that he loved me.” When the women who went to the tomb returned with the message that Jesus had risen, they also brought the command of Jesus to return to Galilee, with the Pope saying that “had heard it twice, first from the angel and then from Jesus himself, 'let them go to Galilee; there they will see me.' 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.”

The Holy Father said that for each of us there is a “Galilee” in our lives, and for each of us to return there just as the apostles did “means above all to return to that blazing light with which God’s grace touched me at the start of the journey.”