Catholics should take the message of the Resurrection “to the very ends of the earth”, Pope Francis has said as he celebrated the Easter Vigil.
In his homily the Pope urged the faithful to reflect on their personal “Galilee”: their first encounter with Jesus.
He said: “‘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 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.
“In the life of every Christian, after baptism there is also 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. It means reviving the memory of that moment when his eyes met mine, the moment when he made me realize that he loved me.
“Today, tonight, each of us can ask: What is my Galilee? Where is my Galilee? Do I remember it? Have I forgotten it? Have I gone off on roads and paths which made me forget it? Lord, help me: tell me what my Galilee is; for you know that I want to return there to encounter you and to let myself be embraced by your mercy.
“The Gospel of Easter is very clear: we need to go back there, to see Jesus risen, and to become witnesses of 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.”
After the homily, Francis baptised 10 people, from Vietnam, Belarus, Senegal, Lebanon, Italy and France.
You can read the full text of Pope Francis’s Easter Vigil homily here.