‘You seek Jesus.… He has been raised’
Reflections on the readings for Holy Saturday at the Easter Vigil in the Holy Night of Easter (April 3, 2021): GN 1:1 – 2:2; PS 104:1-2,5-6,10,12,13-14,24,35; GN 22:1-18; PS 16:5,8,9-10,11; EX 14:15 – 15:1; EX 15:1-2,3-4,5-6,17-18; IS 54:5-14; PS 30:2,4,5-6,11-12,13; IS 55:1-11; IS 12:2-3,4,5-6; BAR 3:9-15,32 – 4:4; PS 19:8,9,10,11; EZ 36:16-17,18-28; PS 42:3,5; 43:3,4; ROM 6:3-11; PS 118:1-2,1-2,16-17,22-23; MARK 16:1-7
MISSIO offers “Preaching Mission,” as a homily help, providing connections to mission from the readings of Sundays, Feast Days and Holy Days.
On entering the tomb they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a white robe, and they were utterly amazed. He said to them, “Do not be amazed! You seek Jesus of Nazareth, the crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Behold, the place where they laid him. But go and tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him, as he told you.’” (Mark 16:5-7)
On this evening of Holy Saturday we mark with great joy the Resurrection of Christ our Redeemer from the tomb. All four Gospels tell us that His body had been taken down from the cross and hurriedly prepared for burial because the Sabbath was fast approaching. So at dawn on the third day, Mary Magdalene and other devout women who followed Jesus went to finish the anointing of His bloodied, tortured body. “On entering the tomb they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a white robe, and they were utterly amazed. He said to them, ‘Do not be amazed! You seek Jesus of Nazareth, the crucified. He has been raised; He is not here. … Go and tell His disciples and Peter, ‘He is going before you to Galilee; there you will see Him, as He told you’” (Mark 16:5-7). “He has been raised; He is not here.” Hearing these words, the women were more than amazed. They were confused and frightened. Looking back across the centuries and putting ourselves in their place, we can understand their feelings. They must have wanted to believe that it was true – that everything Jesus had told them was true. They knew that He had died. Mary Magdalene and, probably, the others witnessed His crucifixion and now they witnessed an empty tomb. And an angel lets them know that Christ and His message still live.
More than that, they are to be the first to carry the Good News forward. In time, they and the Apostles and other disciples would understand that the mission of the Son of God among His people was theirs – and ours – to share. On this vigil of Easter, after the somber season of Lent, the grief of Good Friday, and the silence of Holy Saturday, we have the light of Christ to illuminate our way. In the terrible darkness that too often threatens to overwhelm life and spirit, He is with us and always will be.