Commentary on the Gospel of
My hometown parish church features many beautiful stained glass windows. One of the two largest windows features Jesus in the manger and its counterpart features the resurrected Jesus. Those windows offered me countless hours of imaginative, contemplative prayer that might have looked like a child daydreaming during a less than inspiring homily.
Today on Holy Saturday I am transported back to the window of the risen Christ. That window is on the south side of the church so the streaming sun supports the glory of the story. However it is not quite yet time to be celebrating the resurrection of Christ. Holy Saturday offers us an opportunity for quiet, contemplative prayer. And while I anticipate the celebration of Easter, I invite myself to stay with the image of the tomb from that beautiful window rather than the image of the risen Christ. The gift of Holy Saturday is the taking the time and space to pray with the mystery of the death of Jesus and the fears that come with facing the reality of our own death.
Facing death on this Holy Saturday is unique this year as death has been a central narrative of the global pandemic. Grieving those we have lost. Fearing our own mortality. Experiencing the death of ways of working, engaging in liturgy, serving others, connecting with family and community. These patterns are being rebuilt and some will be reestablished. One common experience of the changes brought by the pandemic is that the busyness in our lives in the “before times” often got in the way of time and space for reflection and prayer. Perhaps coming into the next couple of months the perspective we gained during the pandemic will help us remember to know that in Christ we have all we need and to be watchful of falling into patterns of busyness at all cost.
Today as I sit with the image of the lifeless body of Jesus in the tomb, I ask for the strength to face our fears about the inevitability of death. I pray to for us all to be released from the power of the fear of death. I pray to acknowledge the hold sin can have in our lives. I listen to be reminded that we have all we need. I pray for wisdom to make for time for reflection and contemplative prayer. And happily, I ask that we all be prepared to hear the joyful news tonight that we will live an everlasting life through our baptism.