Today is Black Saturday, (in Latin, Sabbatum Sanctum), the ‘day of the entombed Christ’, is the Lord’s day of rest, for on that day Christ’s body lay in His tomb.
Ideally, Holy Saturday should be the quietest day of the year. It is a day of suspense between two worlds, that of darkness, sin and death, and that of the Resurrection and the restoration of the Light of the World.
Tonight we’ll be celebrating the night vigil of Easter that signifies Christ’s passage from the dead to the living by the liturgy. This begins in darkness (sin, death) and is enlightened by the fire and the candle representing Lumen Christi — the Light of Christ — just as the Church, the Mystical Body of Christ, the community of believers, is led from spiritual darkness to the light of His truth. Christ’s baptism, which our own baptism imitates, is represented during the liturgy by the blessing of the water of baptism by immersing (“burying”) the candle representing His Body into the font.
It is with this premise that we’ve arrived at today’s Holy Saturday reflection.
Being a Light in a Black Saturday
“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32.
I’ll be the first to admit that it is so hard to be nice sometimes. Not just “nice,” but kind and tenderhearted, as the above verse says. When someone says something nasty to you, especially when it’s a false accusation or said with arrogance or in a condescending manner, it can be quite hard to just let it roll off your back. I’m sure I’m not alone in this, but there are others who seem to do better at forgiving others than myself.
All through Scripture we see the struggle between good and evil represented as light and darkness. This is not a mere poetic analogy but a profound declaration as to the very nature of good and evil. Just as darkness has no substance, nor mass, nor force, evil is also nothing more than a void. Just as darkness is nothing more than an absence of light, so is evil nothing more than an absence of good. It is not the task of darkness to become light, light must fill the darkness. If we meditate on this reality, we’ll realize our responsibility is great, and our perception of our world is in need of changing.
Evil Has No Responsibility to Become Good, Good Must Fill Evil
Darkness cannot become light, light must be produced to fill the darkness.
As Christians, we are to be lights in a world of darkness. We must be kind when others are harsh and forgiving when others are angry. Though we may be frustrated by those who walk in darkness, we need to be compassionate toward them; because we were once just like them. We need to be loving and most importantly, patient with them. How many times has God been patient with us? Too many to count.
When a soul is born into the world, it is empty, needing to be filled. When a soul grows up, without love, it is a void and a parasite. An empty soul wanders to fill itself with whatever it can, not even aware of what it is missing. This is then our task to fill this empty soul of goodness. This can be hard to do, but when we think have the eternal light of Jesus Christ in us, all else will follow.
Forgiveness and Mercy Are Unconditional for a Reason
Jesus used such strong words regarding forgiveness and charity, not because people deserve it, but because they NEED it. The lost, the poor, the criminal will stay in the dark until those of us, with a little light to offer, take the first steps. Without this understanding, all religion breaks down into uselessness.
The books of James states clearly that the anger of men does not produce the righteousness of God, so no matter how angry we get, we are to handle it with patience and love. And trust me, this is hard to do. I’m talking to myself when I say all this! I pray that I would be more Christ-like and that I would be slow to anger, slow to speak, and quick to listen. When we’re wronged, the first thing we want to do is snap at our accusers and put them in their place. Yet what good does that do? Trust me, you’ll gain a lot more attention if you are kind to those who are mean to you, and if you pray for those who hate you.
Becoming More Than a 5-Watt Bulb
None of us alive have received our full measure of love in this life, it is our human condition. We have all been scarred, hurt, let down, and left wanting. Even the most fortunate of us are still a little empty or “dark” inside. So where is the hope? If we are left unfilled, how can we fill others without an abundance? So I say, isn’t this the whole point of Christianity?
Jesus Christ gave us his life for us to be forgiven. He became the light into this dark world of ours. Hopefully, today as we commemorate black Saturday, we may also become lights of darkness. Now that we have been redeemed, may we show this light to others, not that we can completely fill their darkness, but that we can prove the light exists by our actions and behaviour so that others may have hope.
Have a blessed Holy Saturday and a joyous Easter! Resurrexit sicut dixit, Alleluia!