Early in the morning, as the light was still rising in the east, two women traveled to the tomb of Jesus Christ. The women were his disciples. They believed he was the chosen one, the Son of Man whom the prophets had foretold. They believed that Jesus was the one their nation had awaited since God had formed them from the family of Abraham.
The women came to the tomb of the Messiah, who God promised would set them free, bring them peace, and make them a light to the nations.
As the sun was rising, the women made their way to Christ’s tomb, to anoint his body with oils. But they didn’t find Christ’s body. They found a young man, clothed in white, waiting to deliver a message to them.
At the tomb of Jesus, an angel told the two women something that would transform the world forever: “Christ has been raised. He is going to Galilee. He will see you there.”
The risen Christ traveled to Galilee to reveal himself to his apostles, to prepare them for his ascension, and to demonstrate the power of his Resurrection.
Pope Francis says that Christ returned to Galilee because he wanted to meet his apostles “where they were originally called. 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.”
Christ returned to the beginning point of his ministry, Pope Francis says because, “to return to Galilee means to re-read everything on the basis of the cross and its victory… which is a new beginning, from this supreme act of love.”
The resurrection makes all things new. And Pope Francis says that Easter should make all things new. “To return to Galilee,” the Holy Father says, “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.”
The Church invites us to discover Christ anew at Easter. We should ask God to give us a new sense of his presence, his merciful love, and the mission of love to which he calls each one of us.
In another sense, Christ’s resurrection begins a new pilgrimage for the Church. We are called to follow after Jesus as he, in the glory of the Resurrection, proclaims the truth. We are to follow after Jesus as he sends his disciples forth to proclaim the Gospel. We are to follow Jesus as he prepares to ascend to heaven.
We are called to be pilgrims, always, to the place where we can encounter the glory of the Resurrection, the “blazing light” of Jesus Christ, and the joy of the Christian life. Our lives should always be seeking after the love of God, as we join Christ as pilgrims to the heavenly city of eternity – always looking up, always looking forward.
As pilgrims, we have the opportunity to commit to Christ in a new way, to seek his mercy in new ways, and to encounter the “blazing light” of Christ, as the apostles did in the joy of the Resurrection.
This year, in September, I will be making a pilgrimage to Philadelphia, to the World Meeting of Families. I will travel to Philadelphia seeking to encounter, in a new way, the “blazing light” of God’s grace. I will travel to Philadelphia to be with our Holy Father, Pope Francis. I pray that you will join me by bringing your families on this pilgrimage, in order to encounter Christ, and to accompany him on the pilgrimage to eternal life.
Everything is new in Christ’s resurrection. He invites us to become pilgrims, and to discover the transformative mercy of the cross. Seek Christ this Easter. Join the holy pilgrimage of the Christian life. And discover, in a new way, Christ’s “blazing light.”