They took the body of Jesus
and bound it with burial cloths along with the spices,
according to the Jewish burial custom.
Now in the place where he had been crucified there was a garden,
and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had yet been buried.
So they laid Jesus there because of the Jewish preparation day;
for the tomb was close by. (Jn 19:40-42)
Yesterday’s Gospel left us in the same state as the disciples: totally demoralized, without hope, crushed.
After all, Jesus was the person many hoped to be the Messiah. But, in their mind, the Messiah was to be a glorious ruler, rallying Israel so that they could defeat their enemies. The last thing any of the people had on their mind was that their “Messiah” would die the ignominious death of crucifixion.
When Jesus was crucified and died on the cross, his disciples scattered in fear. They knew that they would be next. They had no hope.
They had forgotten all that Jesus told them. They did not think about his statement regarding putting the temple back together in three days as referring to Himself. In their eyes, all was lost.
What do we do when all is lost? We give up. We do not look for hope. We wallow in misery and fear.
That is exactly where the Church is this Holy Saturday morning. If you go to any church, you will see an empty tabernacle. The Lord is no longer there. We wait in desolation.
Waiting is one of the hardest things for us to do. Holy Saturday is very much an “empty” day because it recalls the utter desolation experienced by the followers of Jesus. They truly believed that all hope was gone. Jesus was dead and in the tomb. Nothing good would be able to come of that.
Yet, we have the retrospect of history and we know that He rose from the dead. We will celebrate that event tonight at the Vigil Mass of Easter. However, for now, we wait. Try not to wait as a hopeless people. Rather, reflect upon the goodness of the Lord and the great promise that awaits us all!
FAITH ACTION: What feeds our own hopelessness? Are we willing to give it over to the Lord today and receive the hope that He wants to give each and every one of us?
The Blessing of the Easter Baskets takes place at 2:00 p.m. this afternoon.
The Vigil Mass of Easter is celebrated at 8:00 p.m. this evening.