"We were indeed buried with him through baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live in newness of life.
On Holy Saturday our sorrow and emptiness begin to be replaced with a growing joy about to burst forth into jubilation.
Jesus' body is in the grave, but He has promised to rise again on the third day. On this day, Holy Saturday, Jesus descended triumphantly into Hades (called the "harrowing of hell") and brought salvation to the righteous souls held captive there who awaited their promised Messiah, as recited in the Apostle's Creed.
The night is especially dedicated to the Candidates and Catechumens who will become full members of the Church. The vigil usually beings in a dramatic way with the blessing of the new fire, the lighting candles and the paschal candle. Beginning with Genesis and ending with Christ's Resurrection, the multiple readings and psalms are a retelling of the story of God's Love for us. If you are not able to attend the Easter Vigil, try to do some of the readings and remember in your prayers those who have prepared to enter the Church.
As we reflect on today's Gospel, let us rejoice and give thanks to God for the great wonders of Salvation History.
GOSPEL READING FOR HOLY SATURDAY
The Resurrection of Jesus
But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb, taking the spices that they had prepared. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in, they did not find the body. While they were perplexed about this, suddenly two men in dazzling clothes stood beside them. The women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again.” Then they remembered his words, and returning from the tomb, they told all this to the eleven and to all the rest.
Now it was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them who told this to the apostles. But these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; then he went home, amazed at what had happened.
PASSION MEDITATION FROM ST. ALPHONSUS LIGUORI
“Having, therefore, a great High-Priest, who hath penetrated the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we have not a high-priest who cannot have compassion on our infirmities, but one tempted in all things like as we are, yet without sin. Since, says the Apostle, we have this Savior, who has opening to us paradise, which was at one time closed to us by sin, let us always have confidence in his merits; because, from having of his goodness willed to suffer in himself also our miseries, he well knows how to compassionate us: Let us, therefore, go with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace in seasonable aid.
Let us, then, go with confidence to the throne of divine mercy, to which we have access by means of Jesus Christ, that so we may there find all the graces that we need. And how can we doubt, subjoins St. Paul, but that God, having given us his Son, has given us together with that Son all his goods . . . O my chief and only good! What shall I render Thee, miserable as I am, in return for so great a gift as that which Thou hast give me of Thy Son? . . . O my most merciful Father! By the wounds of Jesus, I pray Thee to save me. I love Thee, O infinite goodness; and because I love Thee, I repent of having offended Thee. My God, my God, I wish to be all Thine own; accept me for the sake of the love of Jesus Christ.”
This article has been updated. It was originally published in April 2012. © The Catholic Company. All rights reserved.