Monday, 1 April 2024. Readings: Acts 2:14,22-33, Ps. 16:1-2,5,7-11, Matthew 28:8-15

“Do not be afraid; go and tell my brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.” (Matthew 28:10)

Dear brothers and sisters, we began preparing for Easter forty days ago. On Ash Wednesday, the church called us to “rend our hearts” through fasting, prayer and almsgiving. We have listened to passages of scripture that urged us to repent from our sins, draw close to God, and embrace a life of holiness. We have journeyed with Jesus along the Way of the Cross. Finally, Easter is here; it is time to receive our report cards – to harvest the fruits we have planted. How well did I imbibe the spirituality of Lent? Has anything changed (or improved) in my relationship with God? In keeping with Jesus’ instruction, we have gathered here today as disciples of Jesus for our Galilee Day because we want to experience the Risen Jesus. How are we to live as resurrected Christians moving forward? This brings us to our lessons today:
1. Do Not Be Afraid: When Jesus appeared to the women in today’s Gospel passage, He said, “Do not be afraid.” This is exactly what Jesus is saying to us today. Fear makes a mockery of our faith, like the disciples who took to their heels at the garden of Gethsemane when Jesus was arrested. Fears paralyse us and keep us in our shells, like Peter, who could not defend Jesus publicly but denied Him three times. Fear makes us behave like people who do not know God. Can you compare Peter, who denied Jesus, with Peter, who stood fearlessly in addressing the men of Judea in today’s First Reading? Fear prevents us from achieving our potential as ministers and evangelists. Fear makes our enemies appear larger than God, and our problems seem impossible. Dear friends, listen again to the words of the Risen Jesus and allow these words to permeate the depths of your hearts. Do not be afraid.

2. Go and Tell My Brethren: Jesus told the women to go and tell his brothers that He is alive. He is no longer dead. The natural consequence of dying to our fears is witnessing. You will know you have overcome fear when telling everyone that Jesus has risen from the dead is no longer a problem. By keeping quiet, we disobey Jesus and prevent others from knowing the truth, letting them wallow in darkness. Apart from these women, the guards who kept watch at the tomb witnessed the resurrection, and they went to tell the chief priests exactly what had happened. The chief priests realised they had just killed the Son of God, but instead of admitting their fault, they tried to do damage control. 

3. Say the Truth and Shame the Devil: Some of us Christians behave like these chief priests. We know the truth but prefer to spread lies to advance our agenda; we even pay others to keep quiet or change the narrative. By accepting money to spread lies, these guards behaved like Judas Iscariot, who worshipped money only to regret it. Dear friends, do not let anyone buy your conscience. It is better to die proclaiming the truth than to live the rest of your life worried about whether or not the truth will come to light. Never lie; otherwise, you will need a thousand more lies to defend it. How would guards who were trained to keep watch at night make the world believe that they slept and disciples stole the body of Jesus? What kind of sleep was that? 

4. Jesus is waiting for us in Galilee: When I read today’s Gospel passage, I couldn’t help but wonder, “Why Galilee?” What was so special about Galilee? Why not Bethlehem, where Jesus was born? Why not Nazareth, where Jesus grew up? Then I remembered that Jesus was rejected in his hometown. Mark tells us that Jesus could do no mighty works there except to lay his hands on a few sick people. (Cf. Mark 6:5). Luke reports that Jesus was not only rejected in his hometown, but they also led him to the brow of the hill on which their city was built, intending to throw him down headlong. (Cf. Luke 4:23-30). Meanwhile, Jesus was always accepted in Galilee. John tells us that the Galileans welcomed Him. (John 4:45). Most of Jesus’ miracles happened in Galilee. Jesus worked his first miracle of turning water into wine at a wedding. There, Jesus healed the royal official’s son, the centurion’s servant, Peter’s mother-in-law, the ten lepers, the blind man, etc. In Galilee, Jesus walked on water, produced a coin from the mouth of fish, and drove out demons. I realised that Galilee was not merely a geographical circumscription but a symbol of faith. 

When Jesus told the women to tell his brothers to go to Galilee, Jesus meant that his brothers should move from unbelief to faith. Dear friends, we do not need visas to go on a pilgrimage to this special Galilee. As long as we have hearts ready to welcome Jesus like the Galileans and truly believe, we will see Jesus. And not just that, we would receive our miracles. May our Galilee Day experience bear fruit in our lives today. May those who have come from far and wide join today’s feast and go home with testimonies. Amen.

Let us pray: Almighty, ever-living God, free me from fear, hatred and love of money. Grant that I may fearlessly proclaim the truth through my words and actions. Through Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Amen

Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Easter Monday. Bible Study: Acts 2:14,22-33, Ps. 16:1-2,5,7-11, Matthew 28:8-15).

@Rev. Fr. Evaristus E. Abu