"Go to Galilee"
04/18/22 Gospel Reading Reflection
Traditionally the Gospel of Matthew is considered the first written of the Gospels of Jesus Christ. The consensus of modern biblical scholarship has shifted by way of textual criticism to suggest the Gospel of Mark is the most likely candidate for being the first testimony of the life of Jesus Christ.
In Mark’s account in the short form of the Gospel, the text ends with an angel telling the women at the tomb Christ has risen and to go tell His disciples (Mk. 16:8). The women in Mark’s account leave in fear and “said nothing to anyone.” Scholars have speculated if Mark’s gospel truly ends here then what is the good news? What is Mark trying to convey to those to who he is writing Christ’s account? It’s important for Bible readers to keep in mind some historical disciplines when reading Sacred Scripture—which God chose human instruments “to speak to man in human fashion.” (Dei Verbum, 12.) The most important historical discipline for Bible readers is to understand the term historicism which can be defined as understanding writers write in their own historical understanding and concepts of their own period. The gospels writers were recording historical accounts, but not the same way modern historians record events concerned with the linear chain of events and the strict citing of sources. The gospel writers wrote a theological history of events tailored to their own audience.
Some speculate that Mark’s account leaves the earliest Christian readers who were victims of persecution with a question, “Will you also not proclaim the gospel out of fear?” Matthew’s account wishes to convey a different conclusion to his intended audience. Both Matthew and John differ from the other resurrection accounts in that the women encounter the resurrected Jesus in the resurrection narrative instead of just an angel. In today’s gospel from Matthew, Jesus repeats to the women his last words before his death in which He tells the disciples, “but after I have been raised up, I shall go before you to Galilee.” (Mt. 26:32)
The faithful find themselves a day after Easter Sunday in the Easter Octave. Many, no doubt, feel renewed by the fasting of Lent, Triduum, and finally culminating in the high feast of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. What will be your response coming out of the Lenten Season into the Easter season? Will you eventually go back to your old lives? Are you still feeling stuck in a spiritual rut—a dark night of the soul?
Listen to the words of Christ, “go to Galilee, and they will see me.”
What does the living word mean for us? Go back to the first time you assented to the faith in Christ Jesus. Christ calls the disciples to go and find Him where His ministry first began because at the moment they encountered, as we have encountered, what Cardinal Avery Dulles refers to as an eschatological (end time) event. At that moment, in our Galilee, He chose us and with grace, we followed Salvation itself.
Now, Christ calls us to be on mission to proclaim the good news of the forgiveness of sins and eternal life, what will you do?