Commentary on the Gospel of
Descent into Hell
Where did Jesus rise from? From the cross? From the tomb? From the dead? Or from still somewhere unbelievably lower, deeper, darker? Yes, indeed. He just didn't stop with dying. He descended. Into Hell. So says the Creed. He descended to the godless, to share in their godlessness as one among them, as theologian Balthasar commented. The Resurrection does not begin where Good Friday ended; It begins from where Holy Saturday took him—the Hell. God’s kenosis (=self-emptying) goes far deeper than the cross and the tomb, all the way to the farthest depths. Easter begins from the darkest, farthest, lowest point of human tragedies. This gives us hope! For, as Easter icons of the East show, Christ is never risen alone: He carries a bunch of souls—the entire humanity—with him. May Christ help us easter from our hellish depths!