April 10, 2020


Meditation for Holy Saturday

(This editorial was inspired by the Office of Readings, part of the Liturgy of the Hours, for Holy Saturday.) 

Something strange is happening today. There’s a great silence and stillness on Earth today because the King is asleep. God has died in the flesh. He was crucified yesterday and hell trembles with fear. He has not yet risen from the dead.

By his death in the flesh, God has raised up all who have slept ever since the world began.

Jesus has gone to search for Adam, our first parent, as a shepherd would search for a sheep. Because of his death, he has freed Adam and Eve and their descendants. He now approaches them bearing the cross, the instrument and the weapon that won him the victory.

At the sight of him, Adam strikes his breast in terror, but Jesus takes him by the hand and says, “Awake, O sleeper, and rise from the dead.”

Jesus then tells him, “I am your God, who for your sake have become your son. Out of love for you and for your descendants I now by my own authority command all who are held in bondage to come forth, all who are in darkness to be enlightened, all who are sleeping to arise.

“I order you, O sleeper, to awake. I did not create you to be held a prisoner in hell. Rise from the dead, for I am the life of the dead. Rise up, work of my hands, you who were created in my image. Rise, let us leave this place, for you are in me and I am in you; together we form only one person and we cannot be separated.”

God reminds Adam that it was for his sake, and that of his descendants, that he, whose home is above the heavens, humbled himself and took the form of a slave, became human for the sake of humans.

He says, “For the sake of you, who left a garden, I was betrayed in a garden, and I was crucified in a garden. See on my face the spittle I received in order to restore to you the life I once breathed into you. See there the marks of the blows I received in order to refashion your warped nature in my image. On my back, see the marks of the scourging I endured to remove the burden of sin that weighs upon your back. See my hands, nailed firmly to a tree, for you who once wickedly stretched out your hand to a tree.”

Jesus tells Adam that he, Jesus, slept on the cross and a sword pierced his side for Adam, who slept in paradise while God brought forth Eve from his side. Now, he says, “My side has healed the pain in yours. My sleep will rouse you from your sleep in hell. The sword that pierced me has sheathed the sword that was turned against you.”

Jesus bids Adam to leave this place called hell, but not the hell of the damned; it’s where the dead were awaiting their redemption, now accomplished by Jesus.

Jesus resumes his talk: “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.”

As a result of Jesus’ passion and death, everything has changed. God tells Adam, “I appointed cherubim to guard you as slaves are guarded, but now I make them worship you as God. The throne formed by cherubim awaits you, its bearers swift and eager. 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.”

Jesus accomplished our redemption by obeying the will of his Father and proved that “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.” 

—John F. Fink

Local site Links:

Like this story? Then share it!