The sun has risen on Holy Saturday. The Christian world has remembered and celebrated the events of the Last Supper, all that unfolded in Gethsemane, the trials, the scourging, the via dolorosa, crucifixion, death, burial, and now… we wait. This week someone remarked how lucky I was to be Franciscan friar and that I could take these days for solitude, reflection, and quiet. And indeed, some of my brothers not in parish ministry are able to do that. Many are on retreat. Not so here in the parish.
This morning there is a meeting to finalize the materials for tonight’s Vigil Mass, decorate the church from the solemnity of Good Friday into the joy of Easter morning, and a rehearsal for the events of the evening’s celebration. There are many moving parts in a Vigil celebration well done – some involved in the liturgy come with a veteran’s experience while others, the Elect and Confirmandi, are new to this stage. New to the liturgical choreography is the understanding and framing of the scenes and movements for live stream. The rehearsal will finish, the notes receive a last minute editing, and all put right until we again assemble hours later. Until then we will wait.And yet the world turns. Would it be that all of us could have days of solitude, reflection and quiet for these holy days, but the world turns. First responders are on duty as are the staffs of clinics and hospitals. Grocery stores are stocked and open with shoppers going about their weekly routine. For working families, Saturdays are days for the household – the one day over which they have some control. But I pray that in the routine and chaos of the day, there moments of quiet – as the words of Jesus at the Last Supper challenge us – “Do you realize what I have done for you.” (John 13:12)
In the morning prayers for this day, the first Psalm Prayer says: “Father, you gave your Son victory over men who plotted evil against him; when he cried to you in his agony, you delivered him from fear of his enemies….” I never considered the idea that through all that unfolded, even though Jesus knew the evil that his way would come, knowing is not an antidote for fear. Knowing can be a magnifier of dread – not about the outcome – but about all that will occur on the way to the outcome. Faith and confidence can be present and yet fear palpable. Truly, He was like us in all things but sin – “when he cried to you in his agony, you delivered him from fear of his enemies….”
Even in the busyness of a day, there are small moments as the sun rises, in the cereal aisle, on the ward, or on the way to the next emergency call. May some of those moments be blessed with a gift of insight so that we more deeply realize what He has done for us.