Meditation: Holy Saturday

Ponder the rich wisdom offered to us in an ancient homily for Holy Saturday, the name of the author of which is sadly lost in the midst of time. The early believers had a profound grasp of the drama of our salvation played out before them in the liturgy, and better than hearing my words today, be attentive to this classic, eternal homily:

‘He has gone to search for our first parent, as for a lost sheep. Greatly desiring to visit those who live in darkness and in the shadow of death, he has gone to free from sorrow the captives Adam and Eve, he who is both God and the son of Eve. The Lord approached them bearing the cross, the weapon that had won him the victory. At the sight of him Adam, the first man he had created, struck his breast in terror and cried out to everyone, “My Lord be with you all.” Christ answered him: “And with your spirit.” He took him by the hand and raised him up, saying, ‘Awake, O sleeper, and rise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.”

‘”Rise, let us leave this place. The enemy led you out of the earthly paradise. I will not restore you to that paradise, but I will enthrone you in heaven. I forbade you the tree that was only a symbol of life, but see, I who am life itself am now one with you.. .The bridal chamber is adorned, the banquet is ready, the eternal dwelling places are prepared, the treasure houses of all good things lie open. The kingdom of heaven has been prepared for you from all eternity”

‘O Christ, you slept a life-giving sleep in the grave, and didst awaken humankind from the heavy sleep of sin. All-powerful and ever-living God, your only Son went down among the dead and rose again in glory. In your goodness raise up your faithful people buried with him in baptism, to be one with him in the eternal life of heaven.’

‘Lord, we pray to you for the elect, who have now accepted for themselves the loving purpose and the mysteries that you revealed in the life of your Son. May they have faith in their hearts and accomplish your will in their lives. Rejoice, heavenly powers! Sing, choirs of angels! Exult, all creation around God’s throne! Jesus Christ, our King, is risen! Rejoice, O earth, in shining splendour, radiant in the brightness of your King! Christ has conquered! Glory fill you! Darkness vanishes for ever!’

Amen.