HOLY SATURDAY MEDITATION:
THE BURIAL AND THE SEPULCHRE OF JESUS.
GOSPEL OF ST. JOHN
Now since it was preparation day, in order that the bodies might not remain on the cross on the sabbath, for the sabbath day of that week was a solemn one, the Jews asked Pilate that their legs be broken and that they be taken down. So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and then of the other one who was crucified with Jesus. But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs, but one soldier thrust his lance into his side, and immediately blood and water flowed out. An eyewitness has testified, and his testimony is true; he knows that he is speaking the truth, so that you also may come to believe. For this happened so that the Scripture passage might be fulfilled: Not a bone of it will be broken. And again another passage says: They will look upon him whom they have pierced.
After this, Joseph of Arimathea, secretly a disciple of Jesus for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate if he could remove the body of Jesus. And Pilate permitted it. So he came and took his body. Nicodemus, the one who had first come to him at night, also came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes weighing about one hundred pounds. 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.
BELOW YOU HAVE THE MEDITATION GIVEN BY BISHOP JAVIER ECHEVARRIA
Today is a day of silence in the Church. Christ lies in the sepulcher while the Church meditates, marveling at what this Lord of ours has done for us. She observes silence in order to learn from the Master, contemplating his bruised and battered body.
Each of us can and should unite ourselves to the Church’s silence. And on realizing that we are responsible for his death, we will strive to bring it about that our passions, our rebelliousness, everything that separates us from God, also keep silent. But not by merely being passive: it is a grace that God grants us when we ask for it before the dead Body of his Son, when we make an effort to uproot from our life everything that distances us from Him.
NOW WE ARE GOD’S CHILDREN
Holy Saturday is not a sad day. Our Lord has conquered the devil and sin, and within a few hours He will also conquer death with his glorious resurrection. He has reconciled us with his heavenly Father: now we are God’s children! Let us resolve to be grateful, certain that we will overcome all obstacles, of whatever form, if we stay closely united to Jesus through prayer and the sacraments.
The earth has a hunger for God, although often it doesn’t realize it. People want us to speak to them about this joyful reality, about getting to know our Lord. That is the mission of us Christians. Let us have the courage of Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea, who during Christ’s life paid deference to human respects, but who at the definitive moment dared to ask Pilate for Jesus’ dead body, in order to bury it. Or the courage of the holy women who, when Jesus is already a cadaver, buy fragrances to anoint his body, without fearing the soldiers who guard the sepulcher.
At the moment when everyone flees, when all feel the right to insult, ridicule and jeer at Jesus, they go and demand: give us the Body, it belongs to us. We ask for forgiveness and we say, in words of St. Josemaria: With them I too will go up to the foot of the Cross; I will press my arms tightly round the cold Body, the corpse of Christ, with the fire of my love; I will unnail it, with my reparation and mortifications; I will wrap it in the new winding-sheet of my clean life, and I will bury it in the living rock of my breast, where no one can tear it away from me. And there, Lord, take your rest!
We understand why they place the dead body of her Son in the arms of his Mother, before burying him. Mary was the only creature who could tell him that she understood perfectly his love for mankind, because she didn’t cause his suffering. The most pure Virgin speaks for us; but she speaks so that we react, so that we experience her suffering, made one and the same with the suffering of Christ.
CONVERSION AND APOSTOLATE
We draw out resolutions of conversion and apostolate, determined to identify ourselves more closely with Christ, to be more fully concerned about souls. Let us ask our Lord to transmit to us the saving efficacy of his passion and death. The people around us are waiting for us Christians to reveal to them the marvel of finding God. This Holy Week, and afterwards every day, has to be a leap of quality for us, asking our Lord to completely fill our lives. We have to communicate to many people the new life that Jesus gained for us by the Redemption.
Let us go to holy Mary: Lady of Solitude, Mother of God and our Mother, help us understand, as St. Josemaria wrote, “that we must bring into our life, to make them our own, the life and death of Christ. We must die through mortification and penance, so that Christ may live in us through Love. And then follow in the footsteps of Christ, with a zeal to co redeem all mankind. We must give our life for others. That is the only way to live the life of Jesus Christ and to become one and the same thing with Him.”
TOPIC: DO YOU REALIZE WHEN THE RISEN LORD COMES TO MEET YOU?
Today is a time of silence, of reflection. Unlike the rest of the year, there is no mass service during the day. We pause and ponder about life. For the most part of our lives, we have been partly partying, partly practicing our profession, mostly parrying our daily challenges. Today, the pace of this pandemic pastes itself on our consciousness and we need to step back, assess, assimilate and aspire.
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