Liturgical note: There is no liturgy for Holy Saturday.
Christian tradition has the Church waiting at the Lord’s tomb,
meditating on his suffering and death. Today’s meditation is
taken from the Gospel reading for Easter Sunday at
the Easter Vigil.
At daybreak on the first day
of the week the women took the spices they
had prepared and went to the tomb. They found
the stone rolled away from the tomb; but when they
entered, they did not find the body of the
Lord Jesus. While they were puzzling over this, behold, two
men in dazzling garments appeared to them. They were
terrified and bowed their faces to the ground. They
said to them, "Why do you seek the living one
among the dead? He is not here, but he
has been raised. Remember what he said to you
while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of
Man must be handed over to sinners and be
crucified, and rise on the third day." And they
remembered his words. Then they returned from the tomb and
announced all these things to the eleven and to
all the others. The women were Mary Magdalene, Joanna,
and Mary the mother of James; the others who accompanied
them also told this to the apostles, but their
story seemed like nonsense and they did not believe
them. But Peter got up and ran to the tomb,
bent down, and saw the burial cloths alone; then
he went home amazed at what had happened.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, I contemplate the tomb of your
Son who has loved us to the end. In the
silence of this Holy Saturday, I meditate and prepare
myself for the Resurrection. I come to you in quiet,
expectant prayer, patiently awaiting the new dawn of Easter,
knowing that what seems like defeat is really the
victory of life. Help me to grasp the magnitude
of your death and resurrection.
Petition: Jesus, grant me
the grace to understand in a deeper way the glory
of your resurrection.
1. A Day with Mary: Much has
happened in the last few days. The Sabbath dawns serenely,
quietly. Today is a day to wait quietly with
Mary, to meditate slowly with her, to go to
a lonely place and contemplate the Lord’s death while holding
her hand. Holy Saturday is a day to take
it all in. It is a day of sorrow and
of hope. We must not let Holy Saturday pass
by as just another day, as just the day
in between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. It is a
day of quiet contemplation with the Mother of God.
2. The Other Side of the Resurrection: From our
vantage point, it’s easy to forget that for the apostles
and the disciples of the Lord, all seemed over.
Jesus was dead. There was something powerfully definitive about
that “It is finished” Jesus had pronounced from the cross.
They would no more hear his voice, feel the
power of his preaching, or see the marvels of
his works. For them there was no resurrection, only passion
and death. The women were preparing everything to finish
the task of anointing Jesus’ dead body. We must
contemplate this day from the other side of the
3. Prayer Gives us the Answers to Life: Only
in this silent contemplation will the apostles be able
to see how it all fits together. Jesus had
told them all that would happen to him, including his
resurrection. Jesus had spoken plainly to them, yet their
minds were not prepared to understand. It is only
in the silence of this day, accompanied by Mary,
that they could hope to understand what Jesus had told
them. It is the same for us; we must
remember Christ’s words with Mary because oftentimes our minds
too are closed. Many times we think we know who
Jesus is and what he is teaching us, but
really it doesn’t enter our heart. We must listen carefully
to what he tells us in the Gospels so
as to comprehend the deeper meaning of his words.
We must do this with Mary and allow her to
Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, the
silence of this day helps me to ponder in
my heart all you have accomplished for me during the
past few days. I know that the silence of
Holy Saturday is not a silence of despair and
hopelessness, but rather a silence of great expectation ready to
burst forth in the overwhelming joy of Easter. I
will go to the tomb with the holy women, not
to anoint your dead body, but to rejoice with
the angels as they proclaim, “He is not here.
He has risen!”
Resolution:I will try to keep as
much prayerful silence as I am able today in
order to prepare well for the joy of Easter.