“There is no place you are beyond God’s hand: no circumstance, no debauchery, no guilt, no shame, no self hatred, No ”failure’. Even arrogance is understood and forgiven. Surrender is Holy” ~ Alison Stormwolf
I have always thought that the most hopeless thing that the disciples of the Lord did was to place His body in the tomb. There, the person that they hoped to be the Messiah was put away and all their hopes went with Him. No longer would He be their leader, their teacher, their healer, or their inspiration. In their eyes, He was dead and gone and, for all they knew, they would be next.
Hopelessness, bitterness, and fear filled their lives. Recalling the Book of Lamentations, they must have truly believed that “the thought of their lives was wormwood and gall.”
Have you ever felt hopeless? Trapped? Abandoned? Alone? Then you know what the disciples felt. How could they know hope? They did not truly understand Jesus and all that He said. They did not comprehend that He had to suffer and die. They did not have the strength or the capacity of mind to believe that He could come back to life and, in the process, restore the possibility of eternal life for all.
They walked away. It was that simple. They walked away and found someplace to hide so that they would not be executed. They may have tried to nurse their fear and disappointment but it would have been to no avail as there was a gaping wound in their hearts at the loss of Jesus.
This is what Holy Saturday is all about. I explained to the parishioners at my Masses last weekend that is why we do not hear confessions on Holy Saturday. In the liturgical life of the Church, there are no sacraments. Holy water has already been taken out from the church. No weddings are allowed. No funeral Masses. No Confession.
Unless someone is dying and needs to be anointed, there are no sacraments administered on Holy Saturday. Why? Because Jesus is dead and buried and there is no hope. We live in that tension that the disciples did so long ago. We await the renewal of the sacraments at the Vigil Mass of Easter.
Does this make you feel uncomfortable? It should. Holy Saturday was designed to do just that. But the tension of the day will lead to a great release when we celebrate the Vigil Mass of Easter tonight. Then, all the glory of Easter that had been kept from our eyes will be revealed. We will celebrate what the disciples learned that first Easter: Jesus was not dead. Hope was not vanquished. He truly was the person He claimed to be.
FAITH ACTION: If you have given up on something or someone because it all appeared hopeless, ask God to give you the strength and will to try again.