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Homily for Holy Saturday

Holy Saturday

Saint John Baptist de la Salle April 8, 2023

Romans 6:3

"Are you aware that we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were indeed buried with him through baptism into death so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live in newness of life."

These were words that we just heard from St. Paul on this evening we call Holy. Our celebrations of the Lenten Season are now at an end. We have paid a great deal of attention to the suffering and bloody sacrifice of Good Friday and the triumphant Resurrection on Easter Sunday.

But have you noticed how little we have to say about Holy Saturday? We acknowledge in the Apostles Creed, at every Sunday Mass, not only that Jesus was crucified, died, and was buried, but also that "he descended into hell." But do we think all that much about that today? Perhaps we do not think much about this because we don't like to think about death. We know that we will die someday, and that death is coming for us all, someday, but we don't really want to talk too much about it.

Like Christ, we too meet the sufferings of life head-on, for we cannot avoid them. However, in our prayer and reflection on this day, we are also to remind ourselves that resurrection first requires our death. Are you unaware that we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? Jesus did not just humble himself by becoming human, by suffering and dying as all humans do, but by descending to the dead.

"We know that Christ, raised from the dead, dies no more; death no longer has power over him. As to his death, he died to sin once and for all; as to his life, he lives for God. Consequently, you too must think of yourselves as being dead to sin and living for God in Christ Jesus."

Rather than treat Holy Saturday like a celebration, perhaps we should treat it more as a day of gratitude for the sacrifice Jesus made. For the experience Jesus undergoes is far worse than what Roman soldiers could do. If we recognize more fully today this final experience of Lent, then perhaps we will celebrate all the more heartily tomorrow, the day of Resurrection.

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