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Lumen Christi: The Light of Christ
April 8th Readings Reflection: Holy Saturday
Today’s Mass is perhaps the most beautiful liturgy in the whole year. We begin in darkness and end in light, reflecting the mystery that we contemplate on this holy night. We have finished our forty days of penance, culminating with the Holy Week liturgies in which we have meditated on Our Lord’s final week on earth. We rejoiced in the Institution of the Eucharist and of the priesthood, we watched and prayed with Jesus during the night of His Agony, we mourned His Death on the Cross, and now we prepare to greet Him as He rises gloriously from the dead.
Today is a kind of limbo in Holy Week as we wait for the Paschal Vigil that will take place this evening. This is quite appropriate as Our Lord Himself was in Limbo on this day. In an event known as the Harrowing of Hell, Christ descended into the Bosom of Abraham—or Limbo—to lead the souls of the just into Heaven, which He had just re-opened through His Passion and Death. Imagine the joy those just souls must have experienced: St. Joseph, all the Old Testament prophets, and even Adam and Eve who spent their long lives repenting for their first sin—they and countless others at last were able to enjoy the eternal presence of God in Heaven.
On earth, the Apostles were also in a kind of limbo the day after Christ’s Death. It was the Sabbath, so they had not been able to give Jesus a proper burial before laying His Body in a stone tomb. Their hearts full of sadness, confusion, and fear, they waited—though for what, they knew not.
Early the next morning, the women went to the tomb where they found the stone rolled back. Jesus’ Body was absent, and an angel told them that Christ had risen from the dead. The women’s reaction was one of great faith: despite being afraid, they were “overjoyed, and ran to announce this to [H]is disciples.” The light of Christ’s Resurrection helped them overcome their fear as they joyfully believed the wonderful news told them by the angel. Tonight, as the Church fills with light while we commemorate Christ’s glorious Resurrection from the dead, may we implore His grace to dispel the fear and darkness in our hearts so that we can fully rejoice in the glory of His Resurrection.