HOLY SATURDAY – THE DAY OF WAITING
(ALSO KNOWN AS BLACK SATURDAY)
Holy Saturday is a day of waiting, of hoping, of choosing to believe that all he said was true.
‘For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his.’ — Romans 6:5
Just as the disciples waited, we wait today in joyful hope for the coming of our Saviour; remembering the imminence of his first coming in the silence of Holy Saturday.
It is a day of loss, but also a day of quiet hope. “For you will not leave my soul among the dead, nor let your beloved know decay”
Holy Saturday marks the day after. It is the day that the disciples of Jesus stood in shock, in horror, in guilt, in sadness, in utter desolation. It was a day of mourning, of fear, and of silence. Complete silence, as if the entire world had gone quiet. As if the Lord, Himself, had grown silent. There is no Word today. The Word of God is silent in the tomb where He was buried yesterday.
For the disciples, it was a day of hopelessness. All that they had hoped in, all that they had believed, all that they had expected to come to pass had died on a cross. They were deserted. They didn’t know what would happen next. They were afraid. And they waited.
The first disciples of Jesus didn’t have the hope-giving knowledge that we do. They didn’t know what was about to transpire, how the world was to be changed forever. It is this knowledge that we have that allows us to continue on, to hope, to look forward to the glorious new day about to dawn.
But the disciples sat in disbelief and grief. They no longer had anything to hope in. They sat in silence, hearts broken, lives shattered.
Today, we know the truth. We know that the Lord answered their silence with the most profound of words – Resurrection. We know that by tomorrow, the tomb will be empty and Jesus will have risen in glorious triumph over death. And yet, like the first disciples, we remain silent all too often in our lives. We lose hope all too often. We despair all too often. We turn away from the promise of Christ.
And on Holy Saturday we are reminded of this. Good Friday reminds us that our loving God died for our sins and saved us. Holy Saturday reminds us that despite this, we lose faith and turn from God every day in small ways. And Easter Sunday reminds us that God continues to love us, regardless of our sins. He is our light in the time of darkness, our comfort in the time of pain, our hope in the time of loneliness, fear, and despair.
Tomorrow, like the disciples of Christ, we will run joyfully to the empty tomb. But today, Holy Saturday, we are called to sit in our pain. We are called to sit in our loneliness, taking final stock of our lives prior to the dawning of Easter.
We are called to pause, while the entire world groans in the pain and suffering of uncertainty and loss. We are called to wait, in silence, for the coming of Our Lord.
Holy God, on this Holy Saturday, we find something strange happening – there is a great silence on earth today, a great silence and stillness. The whole earth keeps silence because our Lord Jesus is asleep.
The earth trembled and is still because our God has fallen asleep in the flesh and he has raised up all who have slept ever since the world began. Jesus is died in the flesh and hell trembles with fear.
He has gone to search for our first parent, as for a lost sheep. Greatly desiring to visit those who live in darkness and in the shadow of death, he has gone to free from sorrow the captives Adam and Eve, he who is both God and the son of Eve. He approaches them bearing the cross, the weapon that had won him victory for mankind.
Father, you are our God, who for our sake had become human. Out of love for us and for our descendants you command all who are held in bondage to come forth, all who are in darkness to be enlightened, all who are sleeping to arise.
You have created us to live with you, in the heavenly domains and we rise up, who are the work of your hands, who were created in your image. For you are in us and we in you. Together we form only one person and cannot be separated.
For our sake you, our God, took the form of a slave; whose home is above the heavens, and descended to the earth and beneath the earth. For our sake, for the sake of man, you became like a man without help, free among the dead. For our sake, you were betrayed and crucified, atoning for the sins of the world.
You endured bitter passion and death, through scourging, to remove the burden of sin that weighed upon our back. Your hands, nailed firmly to a tree, by those who had wickedly stretched out their hand to pluck the forbidden fruit from a tree, thus falling from grace.
But you prepared a place for us in your Father’s Kingdom, a throne formed by cherubim awaits us, its bearers swift and eager. The bridal chamber is adorned, the banquet is ready, the eternal dwelling places are prepared, the treasure houses of all good things lie open. The kingdom of heaven has been prepared for us from all eternity.
You descended to the realm of the righteous dead – Sheol, “in which He went and preached to the spirits in prison… the Gospel was preached even to the dead.” (1 Peter 3:19 & 4:6) Jesus, you went there to save also the good people who died before you.
O God, Creator of heaven and earth, grant that, as the Crucified Body of Your dear Son was laid in the tomb and rested on this Holy Saturday, so we may await with Him the coming of the third day, and rise with Him to newness of life. Who now lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, for ever and ever. Amen
Let us pray with our Blessed Mother Mary and the Saints as we await the glorious Resurrection of our Savior.
HAVE A HAPPY AND HOLY SATURDAY, EVERYONE!