Holy Saturday is not the easiest day for me to meditate about. Good Friday provides many raw materials as I ponder on Jesus’ death on the cross for my sins. There are a wealth of meditations relating to the crucifixion along with the treasure of Christian art. The same goes for the Sorrowful Mysteries which even with my distracted meditative form can draw something out of.
Thinking about Holy Saturday and trying to imagine what it was like for the Apostles and for the followers of Christ is a bit more difficult. We already have the greatest spoiler alert in history by knowing about the Resurrection. Pondering what the disciples of Jesus felt after knowing he had died and not yet understanding all that Jesus had taught them is hard to fathom. For us now it is all so obvious what was to happen. But we are like the guy who reads the last chapter of a mystery first so as not to be surprised. We get some idea of a depth of feeling from the two disciples that conversed with Jesus on the road to Emmaus. His death was all they could talk about, but what was lacking was the hope in the good that would come about. The disconnect must have been the greatest for the Apostles who had lived with Jesus for three years, thinking they had absorbed so much of what he had taught, seeing the various miracles that confirmed that Jesus was not just a great teacher. It just couldn’t have ended the way it did on Good Friday, yet it did. Jesus had to rebuke Peter for trying to prevent what Jesus told would happen. After the fact of the Resurrection the Apostles finally put together all the clues Jesus had given them such as referring to the temple of his body that would be built up in three days or the sign of Jonah that was to be given. But on Holy Saturday all they could think was that something had fundamentally gone wrong. That somehow they had misunderstood Jesus. This was true, but they had also misunderstood what they misunderstood about him. Knowing what we know it is hard to fathom the depth of feeling of the disciples of Jesus. We can’t pretend to see the horror of his death on a cross without having it lightened by our knowledge of the Resurrection and our own redemption.
Yet perhaps on Holy Saturday we can align ourselves with his Mother Mary. She who had pondered in the heart from the beginning understood on a fundamental level that Good Friday was not the end of a story. The swords surely pierced her heart at the Cross and later holding him in her arms before he was brought to the tomb. Surely on that Holy Saturday as she was surrounded by her friends and some of the disciples of Jesus there was mourning and sadness, but with a hope that was not found in the others. There was a growing understanding of the Resurrection of the Dead and further insights into the nature of Heaven by others, but Mary’s hope was much more immediate and while others were comforting her, not doubt she was comforting them all the more. Her soul that magnified the Lord also magnified her hope in the Lord and knew that God brought good out of evil. That out of this greatest of evils, that the greatest of goods totally out of proportion was to be done. So on this Holy Saturday we too can rejoice in our spirit with God our Savior and both think of the ramification of our own sins and of the joy of Easter and our redemption.