April 13, 2006
On Easter morning, Mary Magdalene, Mary, the mother of James, and Salome come to the tomb of Jesus. Jesus had died as the Sabbath was about to begin. His burial was done in haste. The women come to complete the burial rites. They expect to find a corpse. Instead they discover an empty tomb.
The angel tells them, “He has been raised up” (Mk 16:6). Death has been vanquished. It has no power to keep us from God who is Life. Then the angel adds a most curious statement. “He
is going ahead of you to Galilee: there you will see him, as he told you” (Mk 16:7). In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus had told the apostles that they were going to lose faith at the moment of his arrest. They would all flee. But after the resurrection, he
would go ahead
of them to Galilee (Mk 14:27-28).
Earlier in his gospel, Mark tells us that the disciples “were on the road, going to Jerusalem, and Jesus
was going ahead of them” (Mk 10:32). Now the angel uses the very same word to say Jesus
is going ahead of the disciples to Galilee. The connection is not by chance. As Jesus leads the disciples to Jerusalem to witness his death, he now is leading them to Galilee to understand the meaning of his resurrection from the dead.
Galilee is more than a geographical place. Galilee stands for all the outsiders who one day would come to share in God’s kingdom. The prophet Isaiah refers to “Galilee of the Gentiles” (Is 9:1). This is the place where the people (the Gentiles) who had walked in darkness would see a great light. Jesus risen from the dead is that great light. He goes to Galilee. He wills to send his Church beyond the confines of a single country or race.
The resurrection of Jesus carries the promise that death cannot separate us from God. Christ lives and so will we. The resurrection of Jesus also bears the pledge that no barrier can separate us from each other. Christ is risen. All God’s children are called to walk in the Light. As the sun at midday bathes the earth, the Risen Lord embraces all with the promise of eternal life.