Commentaries on Holy Week | Holy Saturday
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.”
Commentaries on Holy Week were originally broadcast by the EWTN Radio Network (April 4-11, 2004). Reprinted here with permission.
Most Rev. Javier Echevarria was the second successor of St. Josemaria Escriva as head of Opus Dei from 1994-2016. He worked closely with St. Josemaria Escriva as his personal secretary from 1953 until St. Josemaria’s death in 1975. Bishop Echevarria was ordained as a priest on August 7, 1955. He was elected and appointed by John Paul II as prelate of Opus Dei on April 20, 1994. The Pope ordained him as a bishop on January 6, 1995. Bishop Echevarria died in Rome on December 12, 2016.