Galilee is the place where the disciples were first called, where everything began! To return there, to return to the place where they were originally called.
To return to Galilee means to re-read everything on the basis of the cross and its victory, fearlessly. Do not be afraid. To re-read everything, Jesus preaching, His miracles, the new community, the excitement and the defections, even the betrayal, to re-read everything starting from the end, which is a new beginning, from this supreme act of love.
For each of us, too, there is a “Galilee” at the origin of our journey with Jesus.
“To go to Galilee,” means something beautiful: it means rediscovering our baptism as a living fountainhead, 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 my 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.
In the life of every Christian, after baptism there is also another “Galilee,” a more existential “Galilee,” the experience of a personal encounter with Jesus Christ who called me to follow Him and to share in His mission. In this sense, 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.
To return there means reviving the memory of that moment when His eyes met mine, the moment when He made me realise that He loved me.
Today, 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 where 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 to 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!
This “Galilee Reflection” by Pope Francis, really spoke to me of the importance of reflecting back on my own “Galilee” moment, which occurred some fifty plus years ago. For me this special time was when I first heard Jesus calling me to be a Columban Missionary Sister. This call was quiet, gentle and persistent and came as I and my Legion of Mary colleague did our weekly Legion assignment in a country parish in the West of Ireland. Our particular work at that time was to prepare itinerant children for First Holy Communion. The itinerant families moved around from place to place so the children could not attend school. Their homes were canvas tents set up on the side of the road, heated by open fires from wood collected locally. During our weekly visits our classroom was inside the canvas tent and we were made very welcome by the parents and children. It was indeed a special experience and a time of many blessings both for us and the Legion of Mary.
For me this was truly my first “Galilee moment.” It was here I experienced a deep desire to do this type of ministry on the Missions. The call to go out and bring the Gospel message to those who had not yet heard the Good News of Jesus became clear and strong in my heart. So I always associate my ”Galilee” encounter with the itinerant family visits and teaching those little children about Jesus, in their smoky canvas tents on the roadside in the West of Ireland.
The Legion Founder, Frank Duff, always claimed the Legion of Mary was a cradle for vocations, and I fully agree with his statement. The Legion still continues to be blessed with quite a good number of vocations to the priesthood and religious life worldwide.
-By: Sr. Mary Greaney, SSC
Sr. Mary was missioned for many years in Hong Kong. She is now presently missioned in Dublin, Ireland