Today there are 7 Old Testament readings, one New Testament epistle reading, and of course, our Gospel reading. What is the string that ties them all together?
In the beginning of each story, particularly the first and the last, a darkness covers the earth. This darkness is both spiritual and physical. When God’s Spirit hovered over the surface of the earth before he spoke his creative word, there was only darkness. (Reading 1)
When Abraham went to sacrifice his son on the mountain, there was darkness. (Reading 2)
When the Israelites were trapped between the sea and the death sentence of the Egyptians, there was darkness. (Reading 3)
When Israel abandoned God because of their sin and were sent into exile, there was darkness. (Reading 4-7)
When we were still sinners before our baptisms, there was darkness (Reading 8, the Epistle)
When the face of love hung on the cross and experienced death and betrayal, the deepest darkness fell upon the face of the earth. (Reading 9, the Gospel)
This is Holy Saturday when we remember the time that our Lord was buried in the tomb and descended into the abyss. Sometimes, we men also feel this darkness of Holy Saturday. The things we thought would give us life and meaning left us feeling empty. When our daily lives become filled with routine we ask questions like, “Why am I here? What was I made to do? Where is the adventure? What is real? Is there any meaning left?” We all experience the darkness and grief of Holy Saturday when aspirations fade away in us.
Yet, the story does not end in darkness. The women visited the tomb and what they found changed the course of history. The same light that hovered over the surface of the earth at the creation of the world burst forth from the tomb into Resurrection light which now, through our baptisms, lives in us.