by Ken Rolheiser
Our Galilee of the Nations

The greatest story ever told is in our DNA. We all know secretly that we were meant for greater things. We are on a quest that will lead to the castle and love and fulfillment. That is what we long for in the deepest sense.

Along the way there are dragons to slay and feats that will test our mettle. Easter is the key to the unravelling of our story. The Prince, who loves us, sacrifices everything to win our hearts. At the Easter services we get a taste of joy and a happiness so deep it makes us choke on the alleluias we sing.

We have to go back to the beginning of our story to understand our destiny. Once upon a time we enjoyed Christmas with our parents and our grandparents. We went to church to see the pageant of Bethlehem and loved the joy of joining the angels singing “Glory to God in the Highest”.

Then reality happened. Life took over with “unpaid bills, our grim medical diagnosis, our troubled marriage, our stretch marks, or our secret little addictions.” (from “The Greatest Story Ever Told”, Lori Penner).

In our Great Story we remember our ancestral roots and our Faith Roots. We can go back to the Galilee of our parents and that first church we attended. Galilee is the place of beginning. And Jesus wants to bring that new beginning to our homes and our places of work.

Our grandparents’ homes may have returned to the dust. My parents’ home is gone. But we can go back to our spiritual beginnings, to the Galilee of our first church and community, to the escapes of time and memory. The geography has changed, but the spiritual reality remains.

We can view the picture of our grandparents’ house, our parents’ house, in the changing physical realm, but the Galilee of new hope, of Resurrection, and of mission is constant. Eternal.

Before Jesus entered Jerusalem for the Passover and his crucifixion, he raised Lazarus from the dead. He waited purposely until Lazarus had been dead for days, and then he restored him to life. This was the absolute proof of his power over death.

On the Cross Christ told Dismas, “Today you will be with me in Paradise”. Again, this is the absolute proof that Jesus is the master over death and the reality of eternal life. The Resurrection proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that Christ’s power over sin and the fear of death can be ours.

In our Greatest Story the Prince waits patiently over the next hill for a signal from us. He will take us from the ashes of our afflicted lives and restore us to our baptismal gown of splendour.

Like Christ, we are born to be Kings, but as nature runs its course, we are reduced to nothingness as we die. That is the paradox of suffering – it is debilitating as it limits and defines us physically. But united with Christ it expands to eternal and grand dimensions as we join the Saints in heaven.
“The lonely wait makes the Prince’s return all the more sweet. Just like any good story, the ending is a happy one: He brings her home to be His bride. And the honeymoon lasts forever.” (Lori Penner).

“The past is the present, isn't it? It's the future, too. We all try to lie out of that, but life won't let us.” ― Eugene O'Neill, Long Day's Journey into Night.

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