This is Holy Saturday. Jesus lies in the tomb, the disciples of Jesus feel that their hopes have been dashed by the death of their teacher and they hide in fear that they might be next. They also wonder, could he really have been the Messiah if he has died? Anguish, fear, doubts, and despair weigh heavily upon them.
Some glimmer of hope may come as they gather together and begin to recall what Jesus had said and taught. Peter, James, and John were especially privileged to have seen the transfiguration of Jesus. Jesus had raised from the dead Jairus’ daughter, the widows son, and Lazarus. Was Lazarus with them now? Could he have provided some possible hope that since he was raised, that Jesus may indeed rise again as he said?
A powerful claim. But could it really happen?
We often find ourselves in the same emotional maelstrom as did the disciples. We have or are right now experiencing dire situations and/or unexpected events. We know we are to trust in Jesus, and yet, as doubts arise, we don’t see how we can possibly get through what we are in the midst of or what looms before us. We have heard that he is with us no matter what, but there is this period of dead silence.
Holy Saturday is that time of waiting, that time of silence, and that time to draw deeper into believing what we cannot see or experience with our senses. Holy Saturday is a time to ponder and embrace the Passion of Jesus: his suffering, crucifixion, and death.
We have an advantage that Jesus’ followers did not have as they huddled together so many Saturday’s ago. We know that Jesus did rise again. The question we have to answer for ourselves is, do we really believe he did? When faced with chronic or debilitating conditions, a non-ending world wide pandemic, the death or imminent death of a loved one, loss of a job, a surprising diagnosis, and/or whatever issue, we come to our Holy Saturday’s in our life.
Our minds tend to focus on the worst case scenario, and in these times when we don’t feel or experience Jesus’ presence, he is not absent and he has not abandoned us. Jesus is right by our side but in the times of silence, he just may be challenging us to go deeper in our trust and faith in him. When we do, instead of feeling like we are sinking in the mud, we will come to set our feet on solid stone.
Readings for the Easter Vigil Mass Saturday, April 3, 2021