Holy Saturday. Can you imagine for a moment the feelings those first disciples of Christ must have had on this day? They had spent the past three years following this man. Learning from Him, loving Him, and coming to know that He was the Son of God. Just a week earlier they were filled with such hope and excitement as they joyously followed Him into Jerusalem proclaiming “Hosanna!” How much changed in that one week! Their excitement turned to confusion and fear as He spoke of His coming death. In that upper room for the Last Supper they saw Him begin His sacrifice by offering His body and blood in the bread and the wine. They wanted to remain with Him and followed Him to the garden but could not keep awake.
Then the arrest. In that instant fear took hold and most of the disciples scattered. Those who remained followed at a distance as their Lord was taken away like a criminal, though He had done no wrong. And on that Friday, Jesus, their teacher, their friend, their Lord, died. They were afraid and troubled. They hid themselves in the upper room with the doors locked.
Filled with sorrow and fear, they hid. Where they had hope before they now felt lost and confused. Everything seemed dark. Did they wonder, how can we possibly go on? Did they recall His promises of rebuilding the Temple in three days? Did they dare to hope in their hearts that this would be fulfilled? Or did the fear overcome the flicker of hope so that they forced themselves not to think on it so as not to be disappointed?
How do we celebrate Holy Saturday today? Most of us probably use the day to prepare for Easter tomorrow. Preparing food and getting the house ready for visits with famiky and friends perhaps. We know that Good Friday was not the end! We know that Jesus Christ lives! With this knowledge we can go about today not in fear or confusion but in hope and excitement as we prepare for the wondrous celebration of Easter!
What about other times of waiting though? All of us face those in between periods. Those times when things seem dark, when hope seems lost, when we feel confused and do not know where to turn next. While we wait for His plan to unfold in our own lives, do we wait in fear and hide ourselves away? Do we let the hope within us fade so that even when the wonder of God is right before our eyes we still doubt it in our hearts? Or do we face our own times of waiting filled the hope and peace of Christ?
We know that Christ is Risen! It seems easier to celebrate this time of waiting on Holy Saturday since we know the outcome. Even if we do not know the outcome of whatever it is we may be waiting for here on earth, we know that Christ has died, Christ has risen, and Christ will come again! He conquered sin and death and by His wounds we have been healed! This wondrous love is what awaits us. Though we may not know what will happen from day to day as we wait for answers to our earthly questions and worries, we know the One who is in control. We know the immense love He has for us all, the love that was shown on the cross. We know that He has a plan for each of us greater than we could imagine for ourselves, even if we cannot see it yet. By following in His footsteps and accepting the love He poured out for us on the cross, we know that we have so much more to look forward to: eternity in Heaven with our Savior!
As excruciating as Good Friday was for those first disciples, as sorrowful as that first Holy Saturday, it was not the end. The pain and sorrow turned to a greater joy than they could have imagined. A peace beyond all understanding and hope beyond any they had known before came to them in the Risen Lord.
We will all face tough times here on earth. Times of sorrow, times of doubt, of worry, confusion, of frustration with the waiting. But we can find peace and hope while we wait. Because in the midst of all our trials, Christ is still there. And the love that He has for us will never die. As we continue our celebration of the Triduum, I pray that we can look to Easter with a hope and peace that fills every part of our being. I pray that we will carry the love and joy of Easter within our hearts as a promise to us all that the “Saturdays” in our lives, those dark and confusing times of waiting, those will come to and end! I pray that we may strive daily to live our lives not in fear or confusion, not in sorrow or pain, but in the glorious hope and peace of Christ and His wondrous love. May the peace of Christ be with us all and may each of you enjoy a very blessed, a very joyous, and a very hope-filled Easter.