Baruch 3:9-15, 32-4:4
Ezekiel 36:16-17a, 18-28
The day dawns upon the Sabbath and the usual silence continues within the homes and streets Jerusalem. For a small group of men and women, followers of Jesus, this day is one of unbearable heartache and unimaginable sorrow. Yesterday, as the day was ending, these men and women buried Jesus in an unmarked tomb after he had died a terrible death on a cross. His life and his words haunt them. All their hopes and dreams were shattered with his death. They would find meaning in these Good Friday events only on Easter Sunday. That Saturday was a day of silent mourning.
Centuries later, the Church still strives to capture that mood, that sense of loss that the disciples of Jesus must have felt on that first Holy Saturday. Today, when we enter a Church on Holy Saturday, we find it stripped bare of all of the usual reminders of a place of worship. There is no lit Sanctuary Lamp and the Tabernacle door has been left open. The altar is stripped bare. There are no flowers or banners or trappings that speak of life, hope and tomorrow. Only silence and a sense of solitude are present in the Church.
There is no morning Mass, funerals or weddings on Holy Saturday. It is a day of silent prayer, a day of remembrance, and a day of longing. It is a day of quiet and reflection. It is a day when we can invite the Lord to make a dwelling deep within our hearts and minds. It is a day of profound communion with ourselves and God.
Before we go to bed on Holy Saturday, we will experience a whole new feeling, a very different mood. Out of the darkness will come voices from the past, helping us remember the Love of God from the beginning of time. We will be reminded of the Power of God, the God who Saves time and time again. We will be invited into the empty tomb where Jesus' body was laid to rest, only to find messengers of Good News: Jesus Christ is Risen from the Dead. We will be called to communion of heart and mind as we unite as a People of Faith around the Risen Christ. Candles will be lit. Glorious voices will sing out. A New Day Dawns! Alleluia, Alleluia!
Fr. Clemente Barrón, C.P. is a member of Immaculate Conception Community in Chicago, Illinois.