Eucharistic Readings for Monday in Easter Week
Acts 2:14,22b-32; Matthew 28:9-15; Psalm 16:8-11 or Psalm 118:19-24:
“Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.” (Matthew 28:10)
I have been to the Holy Land. There is a difference between Galilee and Judea. There is a difference in the land and climate. In the North, in Galilee, there is rain and there are fields with crops and live stock. This is where Lake Galilee is (also called Sea of Galilee). This is where the Jordan River is (where Jesus was baptized). It is a blessed place with or without people.
Judea to the south is arid. Judea is desert. It is where the Dead Sea is. Jerusalem is in Judea. Jerusalem is 2,474 feet above sea level and in its natural state it is a very dry heap of sand. How it got to be a Holy City is probably affixed to David, Solomon and the subsequent Temples built and rebuilt there and the longing of the Hebrew people to be there.
But as I listen to Jesus’ story and his words it occurs to me that it is not so much Jerusalem of Judea that he focuses on for good works and teaching but Galilee and its towns and villages. Of Jerusalem Jesus says, “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!” (Matthew 23:37) So something about Judea and Jerusalem in the south is not so blessed to me, with or without people.
I prayed for God to give me an unbiased mind as I was preparing to travel to the Holy Land. I think God did. Putting aside all I had read and heard about Jerusalem and Judea I witnessed firsthand the nature of Israel, upper and lower Israel. I took the picture of the Galilean countryside from a boat in the middle of Lake Galilee that is posted at the top of all my blogs.
It was in the region of Galilee that Jesus turned water into wine (Cana). In the region of Galilee He walked on water (sea of Galilee), preached the sermon on the mount (Mount Tabor), raised the widow’s son (Nain), healed Peter’s mother-in –law (Capernaum) fed the 5000, and much, much more. So, it is not surprising to me that the Resurrected Jesus tells the women to tell his followers to meet him in Galilee. I just wish I knew where in Galilee.
I think sometimes it is a good thing to meditate and ponder on what Scripture says, and what it does not say. We, as Christians, focus on Jesus, what he does and what he says for us to do. Jesus was conceived and later raised in Nazareth of Galilee. And while he was born in Bethlehem and taken to Nazareth by way of Egypt as a baby and a child, it was of his own accord that he went to Capernaum of Galilee and walked along the shore inviting his followers to follow him. I highly recommend Christian pilgrims desiring a trip to the Holy Land to pay much more attention to Galilee as they plan. Remember, the Resurrected Jesus, the “Easter” Jesus actually invites us to go to Galilee. “Then Jesus said to them [us], “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers [and sisters] to go to Galilee; there they will see me.” (Matthew 28:10)
I also believe that the Holy Presence of God dwells in Ukraine. God’s ears hears tears. We too must listen to, and respond to, the tears of the Ukrainian people. Let us meet our Lord Jesus there also.
As we listen to what the Spirit is saying to us, let us live to love, to serve, and to teach, while pondering anew what the Almighty can do. John