April 14, 2017

Holy Saturday | 2017

The Burial of Jesus

Holy Saturday is a day to keep watch for the expectant rising of Our Savior, when He descended into the dead to bring up with Him those righteous souls who died before His coming. According to tradition, the Blessed Virgin represents the entire Church waiting in faith for the triumph of Christ over sin and death. On this night, the Easter Vigil is celebrated and persons who have been preparing to become Catholics receive the sacraments of Initiation (Baptism, First Holy Communion, and Confirmation) and join the Church in renewing our baptismal promises.

The Burial of Jesus

When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea named Joseph, who was himself a disciple of Jesus. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus; then Pilate ordered it to be handed over. Taking the body, Joseph wrapped it [in] clean linen and laid it in his new tomb that he had hewn in the rock. Then he rolled a huge stone across the entrance to the tomb and departed. But Mary Magdalene and the other Mary remained sitting there, facing the tomb.

— Matthew 27: 57- 61 

Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus followed Jesus secretly, fearing the consequences of being publicly recognized as a disciple. But after the crucifixion, Joseph finds in himself the bravery to approach Pilate and ask for Jesus’ body. Nicodemus comes forward to help Joseph take the body and anoint it. This was an extremely public gesture.

On the day of his death, even before Jesus rises, miracles of conversion are already happening. Even as a prisoner, even hanging on the cross like a criminal, even in death, Jesus’ Godliness is evident, his Infinite Love calls forth to himself any and every heart which might be open.

We began Lent being very public about our faith on Ash Wednesday. Today let us be thankful that we belong to him who is Infinite Love. We can be thankful now, even before we rejoice in the Resurrection. (Reflection for Holy Saturday, Father Richard Veras, Magnificant Magazine, Lent 2017.) 

Almighty ever-living God, who makes this most sacred night radiant with the glory of the Lord's Resurrection, stir up in your Church a spirit of adoption, so that, renewed in body and mind, we may give you undivided service. This we pray, through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns, together with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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