Return to Me: Holy Saturday

Saturday, April 8, 2023

Throughout a BSVM year, we pay attention to the liturgical calendar, allowing the ancient rhythms to help us re-center, re-align, and restore right relationships between ourselves and God, and between ourselves and others. This Lent, we committed to individual and communal practices to help us focus our energy on the season leading up to Holy Week and Easter.

Below, read a re-print of a reflection from one of our current BSVM volunteers, Julianne Esteves, who wrote about Holy Saturday last year for her college Lenten series. As we sit in the grief of Good Friday and await the joy of Easter Sunday, let us embrace this time to pause, being grateful for the in-between moments, and know that God is with us through it all! 

The series is a project of the Mission Office at the College of the Holy Cross, and this reflection was originally posted on April 16, 2022.

Gen 1:1—2:2; Gen 22:1-18; Ex 14:15—15:1; Is 54:5-14; Is 55:1-11; Rom 6:3-11; Mark 16:1-7

After spending around 40 days preparing for Easter by praying, fasting and giving alms, we have reached Holy Saturday: the period that bridges the grief of Good Friday and the hope of Easter Sunday. In today’s gospel, three brave women visit Jesus’ tomb and find it empty; they are “terrified and bow their faces to the ground.” I believe that the physical emptiness of the tomb parallels the emptiness of the shocked, mourning, and fearful hearts of those closest to Jesus.

Throughout college, I especially have felt a sense of emptiness while grappling with personal loss, systemic injustice, and crises of faith. This year, as a (perhaps over committed) senior, I have had difficulty balancing the academic, extracurricular, spiritual and social dimensions of my life. Although I generally am fueled by these areas, I often feel my energy and ability to give of myself running “empty” by the end of each day and week. Even though this form of emptiness is not as jarring as what the women encountered at the tomb, they both are spaces for God’s grace to enter.

Ultimately, the tomb–found empty–points to the transformation in the Resurrection. Where and when during this Lenten season have you felt “empty,” searching for something to fill that void? Can you follow the example of the women disciples by bearing witness to moments of both emptiness and fullness? How might you enter the Easter season remembering God is near, to accompany and even transform our times of emptiness?

– Julianne Esteves ’22