Ezekiel 36:16-17a, 18-28
What about today, the Sabbath, the day between that evening, (Jn 19:41), and that morning when Mary Magdala came to the tomb? Is this not a critical day in itself, a boundary, as it were, between the hideous, unthinkable that God is indeed vulnerable, incarnate, immersed in the contingencies of world and human affairs, and, the totally, loving Power greater than human that would restore life in the resurrected body of the Son of God?
In the words of the late theologian Alan E. Lewis, "The Christian story…pivots on the axis of Easter Saturday, that boundary between the cross and the empty tomb which reveals the even greater presence of God in the midst of a great absence: the plenitude of divine love’s resurrecting power manifest only in and through emptiness, negation and godforsakenness."
The Holy Saturday boundary enables us to contemplate the absolute freedom of God. "This is God’s freedom, to be not just our partner in eternity but our fellow creature in time, the fulfilling deity within the bonds of a truly finite life. God’s freedom to exist as a creature does not exclude a willingness to be the creature’s victim, to surrender to that opposition to God which characterizes human existence.
The consequence of this self-surrender of God is God’s suffering…a suffering even to death on the cross. Why? Out of suffering a greater good, from the greatest Good -eternal faithful love in the Resurrection of the Crucified Lord.
Take time to reflect upon this Holy Saturday a critical day in the story of our redemption.
Fr. Alex Steinmiller, C.P. is president of Holy Family Cristo Rey High School, Birmingham, Alabama.