By: Ivonne J. Hernandez
After he had taken the body down, he wrapped it in a linen cloth and laid him in a rock-hewn tomb in which no one had yet been buried. It was the day of preparation, and the sabbath was about to begin.The women who had come from Galilee with him followed behind, and when they had seen the tomb and the way in which his body was laid in it, they returned and prepared spices and perfumed oils. Then they rested on the sabbath according to the commandment.
I think that Holy Saturday is the hardest day to “keep” of the Holy Triduum. On Holy Thursday we celebrate the Institution of the Eucharist and then we sit at the feet of Our Lord as He suffers in the Garden and try to keep Him company. We watch and pray. On Good Friday we venerate the Cross, we fast, and we pray. We walk the Stations of the Cross with Our Lord and we “return home beating our breasts” (Lk 23:48). And on Holy Saturday we take the kids to Easter egg hunts, stop by the store to pick up a ham and clean the house and cook for the company coming over on Sunday. Don’t get me wrong; these things we do on Saturday are all good things. We are usually very good at finding good things to do. What we are not so good at is at what Holy Saturday invites us to do: to wait, to rest.
This rest that Holy Saturday invites us to is not a comfortable one, sitting on a hammock by a beautiful beach. It is rather resting on a hard chair outside the ICU, on a cold bench at the police station, or sunken on the deep low couch at the funeral home. Holy Saturday’s rest is one of surrender. It is the place where our need and our sorrow meet the end of the road, and there is nothing left for us to do but wait. This is a very uncomfortable place to be at, and we will be tempted to leave. We will be tempted to fill the void with diversions and with all sorts of good things. Holy Saturday invites us to join Mary in her time of solitude, to sit with her in her pain, and to learn from her hope and trust.
In Spanish, Holy Saturday is called “Sabado de Gloria”, which translates to “Saturday of Glory”. It is a reminder that God’s glory does not necessarily look like we might expect. On this day, while His body laid in the tomb, His soul was at work. Jesus went to the “belly of the earth” to set the captives free. What looks like a dark and somber day on the surface, looked very different deep within. Imagine Adam’s face when he saw Jesus and heard Him call his name! This is our hope too, that we will one day each be called by name to enter into our eternal rest.
So, on this Holy Saturday I invite you to sit with Mary and to remember. Remember each time you were in a dark cold place and see you were not alone. See how Jesus made all things new and trust He will do it again. We just need to wait.
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We are Ivonne Hernandez, Rick Hernandez and Laura Worhacz, Lay Associates of the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament, and brothers and sisters in Christ.