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My partner has been going through RCIA (the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults) to receive his Confirmation this spring. I am always a little thrown off when I meet people who didn’t receive the sacraments of initiation (Baptism, First Communion, and Confirmation) when they were younger. At first, I thought it would be hard to go back to RCIA as an adult, but I actually realized what a great privilege it is. When we are older, we are more fully and intentionally saying yes to God. Not to take away from my own Confirmation experience as a teenager, but it has been a blessing to witness my partner, as an adult, reconnect with God in his faith and re-confirm his “yes I believe” and this is why.
This Lenten series has been focused on a steadfast spirit, rooted in love. What exactly is steadfast, though? It means, “dutifully firm, unwavering, determined.” How can we root ourselves more deeply in a steadfast love? The answer is in the “root”—where are your roots? It is easier, like a tree, to stand upright and unwavering when you have strong roots.
Today’s readings call us back to our roots, to our why. Jesus is calling us back to where it all began for us. When I first reflected on today’s readings, I was a little confused by Jesus’ actions in the Gospel. This amazing miracle had happened—Jesus had risen from the dead—and yet his one request to the disciples when he saw them was, “Do not be afraid. Go tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.” But, why Galilee? They are just finally seeing him risen, why is he sending them off somewhere else?
I started to do a little more searching into the significance of Galilee. It dawned on me—that was the place where it all began for Jesus—his public ministry, his miracles, and the call of the disciples. He was essentially telling the disciples to go back to their hometown, where it all started for them, and revisit the place where they were first called by God. But why? I like to think that it was so that they could re-discover their call, to remember their “why” so that they could continue in their ministry with a renewed sense of their love in God.
Let us move forward in this Easter season by going backward. Go back—in prayer, in pilgrimage, in meditation—to your Galilee. Where did your faith journey begin? In order for us to remain steadfast in the love that we are called to, we need to remember why we chose to become followers of Christ in the first place.
So now I ask you, “What is your why? Where did it all begin for you?”
If you don’t remember, let this challenge stir in you for a while. Why don’t you recall your why? Are you so far from it you forgot? Did you never really know your why in the first place? May today’s readings be the call that we needed to go back to our God and re-confirm our faith in Her. God is waiting for us there, at our Galilee—so do not be afraid!
We are rooted in our faith through our why so “may we respond to the Gospel call with a steadfast spirit, deeply rooted in love and transcending injustice, renewing a commitment to care for both our fellow human beings and our common home.” Amen!
Alyssa Perez serves as a community organizer for LA Voice, a multiracial and multifaith organizing network in LA County. She was a Jesuit Volunteer in Belize City (’15-’17) and holds theology and political science degrees from Loyola Marymount University and a masters of nonprofit administration from the University of San Francisco. Having been Jesuit educated for 12 years, she is deeply committed to Ignatian spirituality and building the Beloved community.