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September 16, 2019
The time between Good Friday service and the Easter Vigil Mass is a time of quiet waiting. Why are we quiet? What are we waiting for?
On Good Friday we experienced the devastation of the Crucifixion. The sin of the world and our personal sin has put Christ to death. It appears that death, the world, sin and the devil have won the day. If we end the story right here (and many do end the story right here), we are left cowering in defeat – lacking the courage to face down the evils of the world. Instead, we compromise to the evil – we make accommodations such as “oh, its not really that bad”, or “I have to get with the times”, or “peace at all costs”, etc. Our conscience (the gift that God gave us to judge rightly), if rightly formed, may object to our compromise. But the devil has a plan: don’t let us hear our conscience to begin with. One way he does this is by creating noise. Whether it is the television, boom box, or whatever, it can serve as a distraction to live on the exterior only, with little interior life. Holy Saturday is the opportunity to shut off the distractions and create some exterior quite and interior peace so we can hear and follow the voice of conscience. St. Paul in 1 Thes 4:11 exhorts us to “live quietly” so that we may witness Christ’s peace to a world that so badly need that witness.
The second point for Holy Saturday is waiting. Christ’s body is in the tomb. His soul has descended into Hades to rescue the Old Testament saints and bring them to the paradise of Heaven. Think of the souls of the prophets, the judges, the patriarchs, who labored faithfully in the vineyard, but could not enter heaven because Christ the Messiah had not yet opened the doors of heaven to mankind. They knew that the fruits of their labors would never be realized in their lifetime, yet they gave God faithful service. We often do not persevere in the work that God gives us because we do not see the fruit of it. Or we give up our initial resolve when we are asked to suffer. Psalm 27 reminds us to wait for the Lord, to take courage, because the Lord is faithful – He will not fail us. The Lord has conquered death, He has won the victory – just you wait.
May God grant us this spirit of quiet anticipation this Holy Saturday. It is a good time to go to the Sacrament of Confession to cleanse our soul and renew our conscience. As the writer of Hebrews tells us: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us.” Heb 12:1.