Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Galilee and Jerusalem

The Easter Vigil homily I heard was on the theme of Galilee and Jerusalem and I've been musing on this ever since.  I've been wondering if my "not feeling the Resurrection" has anything to do with not meeting the Risen Lord in the right place.

The gist of the homily was that Jerusalem stands for the institution of the Church, and everything that we recognise as part of the Church including its churches, tabernacles, sacraments, priests and charitable work (and I'm not in any way implying this is a perfect institution).  Galilee is the "beyond the pale", the rag bag of unbelievers, believers and scraggy, chaotic half-truths with constitutes the rest of the world.  The homily went on to say that whilst the first appearances of Jesus after His death were in Jerusalem (and just outside); certainly in these appearances in Mark and Matthew he exhorts the brethren to go to Galilee and meet Him there.  Jesus in not to be found exclusively in Jerusalem.  Go about doing your disciple thing in Galilee and you will meet him there.

It is almost as if Christ brings about a marriage between "Jerusalem" and "Galilee", the Risen Lord appears in both.  You can't pick and choose whether to be in one or the other exclusively.  You are expected to be up in "Jerusalem" at certain times, but don't stop being a disciple when you return to "Galilee".  The two, whilst different in nature and essence are made one through the presence of the Risen Lord, the two are enriched and united through the presence of Christ in both.  Before you claim I'm swallowing some "Spirit of Vatican II" and actually finding it good taste, let me just make it clear: I am talking about the disciples finding Our Lord in Galilee, they are already the faithful, the mutual enrichment isn't "Jerusalem" opening up to the secular world, but the enrichment of both "Jerusalem" and "Galilee" through the presence of Christ working wherever His disciples are.

I can find my Lord in church.  When I'm there I don't want to leave (unless it is perishingly cold).  It is good (even vital) to spend time with Him and come to His holy place.  But am I therefore neglecting the opportunities of finding the Risen Lord in "Galilee".  Or perhaps I should rephrase that: am I blinding myself to His presence and appearances to me in "Galilee" simply because I'm not longing for Him to be with me there too?


Robert said...

This is a really good question. Perhaps another way of asking it is, am I blinding myself to His presence and appearances in "Galilee" because I am in "Jerusalem" more than I ought to be, because I have limited my "accessibility" to him, because I am even neglecting my duties, which of necessity and nature can be fulfilled only in "Galilee?"

This is really something I need to ponder for a while. Thank you for the lead-in and question!

Rita said...

Hi Robert,

I do think this is a particularly Catholic problem, we love Jerusalem. Many Protestants ignore Jerusalem and just seek Christ in Galilee, which is not wholesome either. And then there are all those Christians (including many Catholics) who think they are in Jerusalem but don't realise they are just there behaving as tourists.

What is clear about Christ being with us in Galilee is that He comes when the disciples are working together. It isn't about private revelation. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why sacramentally valid marriage is so precious.

love to you and J.