HomeCommentary'Go to Galilee': The Silence of the Resurrection

‘Go to Galilee’: The Silence of the Resurrection

When you go to church today, Holy Saturday, there is almost no one there. The big crowds of Holy Thursday and Good Friday are gone. The people are either resting at home and finishing the binignit cooked the previous days; the rest are going to swim in the sea. There might be a few altar boys and girls in Church practicing for the Easter vigil but that’s about it.

I have shared about the silence of Holy Saturday and Jesus’ descent to “hell” to be in solidarity with the situation of the dead and the forsaken. Silence reveals to us the real meaning of the Paschal Mystery.

But even the resurrection appears in the same silence and simplicity.

I have attended a lot of Easter vigils, and they were all bombastic. The Salubong site is full of “angels” on a mounted stage. The lights are bright and a band plays from behind. Mary’s statue, though still clad in a black veil, is ready to explode in joy as its carroza is all decorated with flowers. The statue of the Risen Christ appears, with Handel’s messiah playing on a loudspeaker in the background. Everyone claps as the designated “angel” sings “Regina coeli, laetare, Alleluia.”

But these all fall in contrast to what really happened that “first day of the week”, on the day of the Resurrection itself.

The women went there early; it was still dark. They were worried about who was going to roll the stone for them. But in three accounts (Mark, Luke, and John), the stone has already been rolled back. There was an angel, a young man, to tell them that Jesus had been raised: “You seek Jesus of Nazareth, the crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Behold, the place where they laid him” (Mk. 16: 6). But Jesus was no longer there. All they saw were the burial cloths, nothing more.

Later some of them met him on the way. Mary Magdalene even mistook him to be the gardener. The two disciples did not recognize the stranger on the road. The angel told them: “Go to Galilee. There, he will meet you.” Even before the passion, Jesus already told them: “After I have been raised up, I shall go before you to Galilee” (Mk. 14: 28). “Remember what he said to you while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners and be crucified, and rise on the third day” (Lk. 24: 6-7). It was in Galilee that they first learned about the Paschal Mystery.

- Newsletter -

Three things I learned about Galilee.

First, Galilee is not at the center. Jerusalem is. Many of the people are either farmers or fishermen. The contents of Jesus’ parables and metaphors were from Galilee’s agricultural landscape — wheat and weeds, sparrows in the skies, lilies in the field, old figs and sycamore trees. His first disciples were also fishermen and were called from the Lake of Galilee. They left their boats and followed him.

Second, Galilee is where all of it started. It is the place where the disciples were formed. It is the place where they witnessed him preach, rebuke demons, do miracles, and cure lepers. It was also in the silence of Nazareth of Galilee where Jesus was formed by the simple life of Mary and Joseph. It was in one of its synagogues where he proclaimed his mission to liberate the poor and preach the good news of God’s kingdom. This is also where he was rejected and thrown away. Everything happened in the backward location and deafening silence of Galilee.

Third, the seeds of the Kingdom were already present in Galilee. The resurrection is already present in ordinary things. In their simplicity and silence, the everyday lives of people already announce the resurrection: the pearl of great price, the sower and the seeds, the light on the lampstand, the salt of the earth, the tiny mustard seed, the prodigal son, etc.

On the eve of the resurrection, I went around our little barrio by the sea. No one was there. It was still a bit dark because the sun had not fully risen yet. Yet in their silence, those little things around speak to me of the past of my childhood, as well as a future resurrection.

There was the beautiful sun, about to rise. It is always a beautiful sight to behold if one rises early as we were told to do, our grandmothers told us. That sun is one that shines for both the good and bad (Mt. 5: 45).

There was a view of the sea. The sea was for me an ambivalent reality: it was there that I learned how to fish and swim; it was also there that I almost drowned while fishing. It was at its sight when I learned how to cry as I held Mama’s hand while she sobbed in sadness; it was also there that I learned what empathy is all about.

There was this guiwanon by the shore — a clean, potable drinking water spring found just next to the sea. Before there was running water on our faucets, people came down to the sea, to drink from the guiwanon, wash their clothes, and take a cold bath. Water has always been the sign of life, and is the place where we encounter the Messiah, as the Samaritan woman tells us.

There were also small fishing boats. Like in Galilee, these are not motorized bancas. Fishermen use paddles even then. Simon heeded what Jesus told him: “Put out into the depths and let your nets down” (Luke 5:4). This strikes a special in these subsistence fishermen.

There were the coconut trees where Noy Oming and Nang Miguela, a couple, climbed each day to gather the tuba wine. Until the day Noy Oming died, and the old Nang Miguela fell from the tree while doing the daily. For our young life, tuba is life. Like wine for the Jews, tuba is the source of joy for young and old, a sign of the joy of God’s kingdom.

These ordinary things, these simple folks, these silent spaces will always be the sign of Jesus’ resurrection. The challenge is to see behind the stones that covered Jesus’ burial. Not that Jesus is behind it. Even inside, there are only the burial clothes.

In the silence of things and spaces, the resurrection is found. It is not as loud or clear as you think. But it is there.

The challenge is to believe what the angel said: “He is truly risen. You will see him in Galilee.”


Father Daniel Franklin Pilario, C.M., is the President of Adamson University in Manila. He is a theologian, professor, and pastor of an urban poor community on the outskirts of the Philippine capital. He is also Vincentian Chair for Social Justice at St. John’s University in New York.

© Copyright LiCAS.news. All rights reserved. Republication of this article without express permission from LiCAS.news is strictly prohibited. For republication rights, please contact us at: [email protected]

Previous articleGood Friday
Next articlePhotos: Easter Vigil in Manila

Support LiCAS.news

We work tirelessly each day to tell the stories of those living on the fringe of society in Asia and how the Church in all its forms - be it lay, religious or priests - carries out its mission to support those in need, the neglected and the voiceless.
We need your help to continue our work each day. Make a difference and donate today.