The readings for tonight’s Easter Vigil can be found here.
(N.B. – If you parish doesn’t read all 7 of the readings at the actual Vigil Mass, then I suggest you consider taking some time during the day today to read them all together.)
Given that today is Holy Saturday, perhaps the most unique liturgical day of the year, there are no proper readings. Instead I will suggest that you read a famous, yet anonymous ancient homily. It is read in the Liturgy of the Hours and is found here on the Vatican web site.
Holy Saturday is such a unique day because there is no prescribed liturgy for the day itself. Instead the Church leaves us to contemplate the mystery of the darkness between the Cross and the Resurrection. This ancient homily gives us a starting point to contemplate the mystery of what exactly happened in between the death and resurrection of Christ.
There are three fruits I believe we can take from this day and the homily.
God intentionally left this day a mystery to for us. So while we can reflect and imagine to a certain extent, I think it’s best to leave it as a mystery. A reminder for us that in this life we will never fully grasp the depths of God. Today is an opportunity to enter into that mystery with a greater trust and faith, accepting it’s not necessary to speculate or analyze every single detail. Rather, we contemplate with gratitude the great gift that is God himself, and the sacrifice he made for us on the Cross.
Granting the mystery, I believe there are two times when we spiritually experience Holy Saturday throughout our lives. The first is in the sacrament of confession. Through our sin, we are separated from God. When we are contrite, we turn to God in the sacrament and experience him coming down to us to grasp us by the hand and pull us out of darkness and into light. Every time we go to confession we experience Holy Saturday.
Secondly, we experience Holy Saturday when we lose a loved one. Particularly, one’s own child. When this happens Holy Saturday is not a reoccurrence as when we go to confession, but rather it is perpetual. It is as if this darkness that comes over the land on Good Friday never goes away. There are a million people reaching out and saying all kinds of nice things, but all you experience is this great silence, the silence that exists between you and your child. The silence that creates a void, and leaves one feeling like they are all alone in this dark place. You keep waiting for the resurrection, but it seems like it will never come. You were told the Resurrection of Christ would bring you joy, but it hasn’t. In today’s experience, Christ is not yet resurrected, he merely comes to meet you in the silence, and the darkness, in order to hold your hand, to sit down with you. Allow him to be with you there in the silence, you and he need not say anything. Experience Holy Saturday with him now, know that it may last a long time, but if you are to experience the resurrection one day, first sit with Christ on Holy Saturday.