Today is Holy Saturday, which is one of the more peculiar days on the Church Calendar. It is the only day of the year when there will be no Mass celebrated in the Roman Catholic Church. It is the only day of the “Daily Lectionary” for which there is no gospel lesson assigned. Tonight there will be worship as many celebrate the Easter Vigil, but that is a service of Easter, not Holy Saturday. Artistically, there are no great masterpieces that commemorate this day. Very few paintings, few poems, almost no hymnody (the music that does exist generally cheats toward Good Friday or Easter Morning). If there is a mood for the day, it would be reflective silence.
Historically, this was the day that the body of Jesus lay in his tomb, dead. For the disciples and others who were mourning the death of Jesus, there was no anticipation of what would happen on Easter morning. The empty tomb of Easter morning was a total and absolute surprise. This day exists on the church calendar in order that we may understand that Jesus Christ -the Son of the Living God, God Incarnate in human flesh - actually “died and was buried.”
What do we do the day after a loved one dies? It is generally a day of deep reflection, as we try to come to grips with the reality of the situation. In our reflections, we generally examine the relationship we had with the loved one whom we have lost. We remember things said and done and their meaning for our continuing life. We draw comfort from sharing our unique remembrances with one another. In the pain of our loss, we generally do not feel like singing or celebrating. So today we remember that a loved one died, Jesus Christ our Lord. This day is set aside for reflection.
The great thing about Holy Saturday is that it is realistically human. It is a day that deals with the reality of death, just as tomorrow will deal with the reality of the death of death itself.
The painting is titled, “Holy Saturday” by Roxolana Luczakowsky Armstrong. Her works may be seen and purchased at http://www.agdei.com/Roxolana.html