Commentary on the Gospel of

Tom Shanahan, S.J.-Creighton Univerity's University Relation and the Athletic Department

Let’s put ourselves along side of Mary, the other women who stood by the cross of Jesus and the 11 disciples all left to their grief because of the events of Good Friday.  How must they have felt and reacted to the violence inflicted on Jesus?  What can we say to them or how can we be present to them at this moment?


What a mix of emotions must have been theirs as they confronted the reality of their unique situation.  We all know that experience as we acknowledge the death of our loved ones.  Let us call upon our own grief to better know Jesus’ family and friends’ experience of his cruel death on this “Holy” Saturday.


Today we are in vigil, in mourning for the cruel death of Jesus.  Our stance is one of waiting and watching with Mary and the disciples.  We have lost our beloved; we are bereft of his presence to/for us.  Deep sadness envelopes us.  We are not comfortable with it, but we walk through these hours and look for an end to our sadness for a brighter day.


Theologians speak of Holy Saturday as mirroring God’s creative spirit when he “rested” on the seventh day.  We rest too as creatures who have been buffeted by the “work” of Jesus in his final Paschal celebration, which became a precursor for his own experiences on this “Good” Friday.


Holy Saturday is the only day in the liturgical calendar that has no celebration of the Eucharist or a communion service.  We find ourselves missing His presence to/for us and we acknowledge it so that we can actively rest in the fact that He is truly lost to us in death.  The end of his life is now a reality to be received and loved because we love and cherish His presence so dearly.


The Easter Vigil celebration is a full and rich presentation of Jesus’ life, death AND resurrection as it fits into a grand plan of God.  From the moment God called a People to him (the Israelites), through the main figures of the Jewish Bible (founders and prophets) to this very moment in history when a New People is formed by its faith in Jesus as Lord and savior.  And to us today as we align ourselves with God’s plan in Jesus.


What a blessing! What a gift! How blessed we are in the Person of Jesus, God and man here on earth for us.  Let us rejoice and be glad for such blessings.  The Easter season has begun and we are invited to enter into its call for joy and peace in the favor of God.  Let us hear that call and respond from a full heart to God’s incredible goodness in the person of Jesus, our Christ and our savior. 


Thank you, God, for the light that you shine on us in Jesus’ life, death and resurrection.


Jesus, thank you for the wonders of your presence to us as you poured out your life for us and invite us into your own wonderful Light. 


Holy Spirit, keep us aware of that goodness and grace as we grow in faith, hope and love through Jesus’ to as your New People born to new life in your Paschal Mystery.


                                                            HAPPY EASTER.


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