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Holy Saturday

March 22, 2008

Holy Saturday

Blessed Holy Saturday,

The heavy sleep of grief has given way to Sabbath’s dawn. Instinctively we turn to His usual place among us, to the One Who has given meaning to every breath for three life-changing years. The crushing truth descends as memories resurface. Torchlight gleaming off lethal weapons; the clank of armor; frenzied flight in the moonlit garden; the bloodthirsty demands for crucifixion; the terrifying darkness and trembling earth; that heart-rending cry, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me!” (Matthew 27:46).

He’s gone. Yawning chasm of emptiness, desolation. And my life could be next…Oh merciful sleep, why have you abandoned me?!

Disorientation. Our center of gravity suddenly gone, we grope confusedly for something, anything, for a sense of direction. Aimless. It’s the Sabbath. At least the Sabbath prayers will give us something to focus on, some semblance of normalcy. But He always led them… Our voices catch and break on words once shared with Love now lost. Lost. Frightened. Weary beyond belief. Full, oh so full, of regrets. I promised–we all did–to die rather than forsake Him. Then I ran away. My God, O my God, why did I abandon You?! Can You ever forgive me… How can life go on without You…?

Easter Vigil Readings:
Genesis 1:1-2:2 (Creation)
Psalm 104:1-2, 5-6, 10, 12-14, 24, 35 “Lord, send out Your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth”
or Psalm 33:4-7, 12-13, 20-22 “The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord”
Genesis 22:1-18 (Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac)
Psalm16:5-11 “Keep me safe O God; You are my hope”
Exodus 14:15-15:1 (the parting of the Red Sea)
Exodus 15:1-17 “Let us sing to the Lord; He has covered Himself in glory”
Isaiah 54:5-14 (God, our Bridegroom, will take us back, and love us)
Psalm 30:1-13 “I will praise You, Lord, for You have rescued me”
Isaiah 55:1-11 (God offers us food and water without cost from His abundance)
Isaiah 12:2-3 “You will draw water joyfully from the springs of salvation”
Baruch 3:9-15, 32-4:4 (we are in need because we have forsaken God, the Source of everything)
Psalm 19:8-11 “Lord, You have the words of everlasting life”
Ezekiel 36:16-28 (God will forgive and renew us for His own sake)
Psalm 42:2-43:4 “Like a deer that long for running streams, my soul longs for You, my God”
or Psalm 51:12-19 “Create a clean heart in me, O God”
Romans 6:3-11 (because we have been baptized into Jesus’ death, death has no more power over us)
Psalm 118:1-23 “Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!”
+Matthew 28:1-10 (the two Marys meet an angel, then the risen Lord)

“What little sense you have! How slow you are to believe all that the prophets have announced!…Beginning, then, with Moses and all the prophets, He interpreted for them every passage of Scripture which referred to Him” (Luke 24:25, 27).

We may not cover every passage which refers to Jesus tonight, but Holy Mother Church does encapsulate for us that first traveling Bible study of the New Covenant. We begin with Moses and the prophets, looking at passage after passage that points to what we have just witnessed, illuminating the dread darkness with the splendor of truth.

God created everything for us, loved us into being in His own image, blessed us and rejoiced in our goodness (Genesis 1:1-2:2). When sin called for the sacrifice of an only, beloved son, God provided, first in the figure of a ram, then in the Person of His own Son (Genesis 22:1-18). He powerfully led His people through baptismal waters that dealt death to the slavery of sin, winning triumphant freedom for His own (Exodus 14:15-15:1). His love for us is that of a devoted husband who yearns to take us back despite our unfaithfulness, to lavish us with tenderness (Isaiah 54:5-14).

He reasons with us. “Why spend your money for what is not bread; your wages for what fails to satisfy? Heed Me and you shall eat well, you shall delight in rich fare” (Isaiah 55:2). “How is it, Israel, that you are grown old in the land of your foes…? You have forsaken the fountain of wisdom!…Turn O Jacob, and receive her…give not your glory to another” (Baruch 3:10, 4:2, 3). Although we do not deserve the favor He offers us, yet will He sprinkle us with the clean waters of Baptism that transform our stony hearts into natural hearts, freeing us from all impurity (Ezekiel 36:16-28). This Baptism is our immersion in Jesus’ death, followed by our rising with Him to a new, supernatural life (Romans 6:3-11).

Tonight we are invited to renew that immersion, to recommit ourselves to our Baptismal vows, to draw water joyfully from the fountain of salvation (see Isaiah 12:3).

May we come with open hearts, eager to receive this living water (see John 4:14).

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