Saturday, April 04, 2015

The Great Silence of Holy Saturday

As much as I like the whole "harrowing of Hell" thing, with Jesus as the ultimate Trojan Horse, smuggled past the gates of death to free all the captives (all humanity, from Adam and Eve to John the Baptist), I find it more helpful personally to spend Holy Saturday in the silence of Mary.

She held her Son's body that Friday evening, and watched John, Joseph and Nicodemus carry it to the tomb, as if transported to a timeless zone, where there was no past or future, no passing of minutes or hours, no succession of days, but only a strange present; a world without the living presence of Jesus. She was immersed in the mystery of his death (how could he, eternally begotten of the Father, even die?), witnessing the fulfillment of all the Scriptures in a way that no one would have ever fathomed.

Mary had been in this timeless place before, but then she had been immersed in wordless marvel at the beginning of the Messiah's earthly life. Would that same wordless marvel fill her on Sunday morning? She knew her Son's promise and prophecies: "On the third day, the Son of Man will rise." But just as he had confounded all expectations in his coming, and paradoxically worked out the redemption by "becoming a curse for us" according to the Law, he could be counted on to surpass every imaginable conception of what "rising from the dead" might mean.

With Mary, we can only wait. In silence.

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