Holy Saturday is the day of the “great silence”. It begins on the night of Good Friday, with the stone that rolls to seal the tomb of the Lord, and ends with tonight, when the Church celebrates the Resurrection of Christ. Being an ‘aliturgical day’, lacks its own Gospel. The Church remains silent today, watching over the tomb where the most holy Body of her Master lies, and at the same time waiting for his Resurrection. On this day, however, a truth of faith is traditionally remembered, which in general, is not usually a very recurrent theme in our meditation: ‘Christ’s descent into the mansion of the dead to preach the Good News there.’ In addition to being present in the Creed, this truth is also hinted at by St. Peter, in whose first epistle we read that, after suffering and dying, the Lord “went to preach to the spirits who were held in prison” (1Pt 3: 19), that is, “to the dead, that, although they are condemned in their humanity of flesh, they may live according to God as to the spirit” (1Pt. 4: 6).
In this time interval in which the body of Jesus is buried, there are two realities that are offered to our meditation. The first is the descent of Jesus to the realm of the dead. While His corpse rests in the tomb, the most holy soul of the Incarnate Word descends to the abode of the dead to free the righteous and lead them to Heaven. Contemplating this mystery, we are called to unite ourselves devotedly to the blessed soul of the Lord, where all love and all wisdom end. The second is the faith of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the only one that prevailed after the Lord’s death. On this Holy Saturday, the Church is restricted to the figure of Mary. While Saint John and the holy women run to the tomb to discover the Resurrection the next day, the silent Mother of God believed without having seen it. On this day, she accompanies us and strengthens our faith in the resurrected Saviour.
At the end of time, the souls of the righteous, as well as ours would be united again to their bodies, fully configuring themselves to the risen Christ. In the firm hope of Our Lord’s Resurrection, let us live this ‘Sabbath of silence’ in holiness and, tonight, let us be filled with joy for Christ’s victory over death. May He deign to associate us with his glorious Easter. May our Blessed Mother Mary, help also us to share in her compassion, full of pain and love. May she help us to discover, under the veil of her tears, the most burning flame of faith and love, which, lit in her Immaculate Heart, illuminates this day of silence and longing. Amen.
© Fr. Chinaka Justin Mbaeri, OSJ
Paroquia Nossa Senhora de Fatima, Vila Sabrina, São Paulo, Brazil
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