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Saturday, April 11, 2009

Holy Saturday, a long, quiet day

This is a long, quiet day. We have stayed with Jesus as he was taken down from the cross and laid in the tomb. Now we wait. We have the advantage of knowing the Jesus is risen; the apostles did not and mourned their loss and could not accept the fact that Jesus had died as a common criminal on a cross. They are demoralized and very scared. It is a long day. We wait for Jesus to begin to show himself on Easter morning. I am sure that he went first to visit his mother who had held him as he was taken down from the cross. Now she is the first to see his glorified wounds and to know that he has risen from the dead as he had said. She did not go to the tomb with the women to anoint Jesus as she knew he was risen. Still, it is a long day. We wait for the resurrection, full of hope and love and desiring to rejoice with our risen Lord.
The night vigil on Holy Saturday has four parts: the service of light with the blessing of the fire and the lighting of the Easter candle, the procession in darkness with the deacon singing "Christ our light" and all answering Deo Gratias! The singing of the Exsultet concludes this first part; the second part is the liturgy of the word where the Church meditates on all the wonderful things God has done since the beginning; the third part is that of the liturgy of baptism when new members are baptized; and the forth part is the liturgy of the Eucharist.
May we enter into the ceremonies to praise Jesus with greater joy than ever as the Preface tells us. "By dying he destroyed our death; by rising he restored our life."

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