Holy Saturday is a day nobody talks about much in the liturgical year.
There are no public ceremonies, no particular liturgies to interrupt the sense of waiting and vacuity that mark the day. For the most part, we are simply left on our own on Holy Saturday. And yet every human being who has ever walked the earth has known what the emptiness of Holy Saturday is about.
Everyone who has ever lived, who will ever live, will someday undergo a Holy Saturday of our own. Someday we will all know the power of overwhelming loss when life as we know it changes when all hope dies in midflight. Then, and only then, can we begin to understand the purpose of Holy Saturday.
The importance of Holy Saturday lies in its power to bring us to the kind of faith the spiritual masters call “mature.” Holy Saturday faith is not about counting our blessings; it is about dealing with darkness and growing in hope. Without the Holy Saturdays of life, none of us may ever really grow up spiritually.
Hope, you see, is a slippery thing, often confused with certainty, seldom understood as the spiritual discipline that makes us certain of only one thing: in the end, whatever happens, will be resolved only by the doing of the will of God, however much we attempt to wrench it to our own ends. We have seen, for instance, how often what is dark leads nevertheless to the light. For some, there is no commitment to good until they have really experienced evil. For others, faith cannot flower until they realize that despair has not triumphed. So there is hope here, too, surely. The Liturgical Year by Joan Chittister
Holy Saturday is the time of resting, of being buried with the crucified Jesus. It is really Sabbath. It is the day of waiting, but waiting for our God, and God’s wonderful action. Will we be able to let go, empty ourselves, and let God come into our lives? Will we be able to be quiet and listen to God’s unobtrusive presence” Will we be able to see the COVID 19 restrictions, the absence from official religious links with God on this day, in order to grow to an even deeper understanding of God’s otherness and ways of being with God?
It is traditionally a day of quiet meditation as we contemplate the darkness of a world without a future and without hope apart from God and his grace. It is also a time to remember family and the faithful who have died. Holy Saturday has traditionally been a time of reflection and waiting, the time of weeping that lasts for the night while awaiting the joy that comes in the morning (Psa 30:5).
His cross stands empty in a world grown silent through hours of anguish and dread; in stillness, earth awaits the resurrection; while Christ goes down to wake the dead.
~ Psalms 114/115 ~
The dead body of Jesus rests on Saturday, waiting for God to do whatever God plans to do. It is our great act of trust and surrender, both together. Hope is not some vague belief that “all will work out well,” but biblical hope is the certainty that things finally have a victorious meaning no matter how they turn out. We learned that from Jesus, which gives us now the courage to live our lives forward from here.
Bishop Terry Brady (Auxilliary Bishop of Archdiocese of Sydney) shares his reflection before we enter into the Easter Vigil tonight.
Very few of us can recall entering another Holy Week where the whole Human Family, no matter where we are or who we are, makes no difference. Christians are being offered as a special invitation by the Risen Jesus to enter and come into the Tomb to encounter His unlimited love that has no conditions only that we love Him in return and our Sisters and Brothers no matter who they may be. Over the last few days, I have been going over a prayer that really touched my heart it is a quote from the Preface from Passion Sunday: “For though innocent, He suffered willingly for sinners and accepted unjust condemnation to save the guilty. His Death has washed away our sins and His Resurrection has purchased our justification.” I cannot recall approaching another Easter when I have felt the need to be so close to the Lord. I can assure each of us that Jesus will give each of us every opportunity to take up His invitation. May I take this opportunity to wish everyone a very Blessed Easter.