Easter Vigil (Holy Saturday)

Matt 28:1-10

The Resurrection of Jesus


On this particular day, three women: Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Salome showed more courage than the apostles who cowered and fled in fear. For their faith in and love for Jesus they were amply rewarded. At the same time, they had the privilege of being commissioned to tell the good news of the Risen Christ to Peter and the band of disciples in order to stoke alive in their hearts the dying fire of commitment to the Lord to whom they had once promised to remain steadfast. Buoyed up by what they had seen and heard the apostles joyfully announced the extraordinarily good news about the Son of God who had died but is risen once again. (Fr. Flor Lagura, SVD Bible Diary 2006)


March 26, 2016 Saturday

“Do you miss me?” “Yes, I miss you so much!” “Where have you been?” “What are you doing?” “When will I see you again?” “I really wish you are here with me!” This could be a conversation of lovers separated by time and space. But could this also capture the sentiment of Black Saturday, the day after the death and burial of the One whom the disciples loved so dearly?

Do you miss the Lord so badly, feel the pinch of loneliness in your heart and die to come to him

in the tomb or the tabernacle only to find it empty? Before we fast-forward to the alleluia and

Gloria, it might be worth our curiosity to ask: What happened on black Saturday?

When we say the Apostle’s Creed, we note that after Jesus died and was buried, “he descended into hell.” Holy Saturday commemorates this event. Where the bible is silent about, our catechism lls the gap. Here is how the Catechism of the Catholic Church explains it. 633 Scripture calls the abode of the dead, to which the dead Christ went down, “hell” – Sheol in Hebrew or Hades in Greek – because those who are there are deprived of the vision of God.

Such is the case for all the dead, whether evil or righteous, while they await the Redeemer: which does not mean that their lot is identical, as Jesus shows through the parable of the poor man Lazarus who was received into “Abraham’s bosom”: “It is precisely these holy souls, who awaited their Savior in Abraham’s bosom, whom Christ the Lord delivered when he descended into hell.” Jesus did not descend into hell to deliver the damned, or to destroy the hell of damnation, but to free the just who had gone before him. 634 “The gospel was preached even to the dead.” The descent into hell brings the Gospel message of salvation to complete fulfillment.

The last phase of Jesus’ messianic mission is the spread of Christ’s redemptive work to all men of all times and all places, for all who are saved have been made sharers in the redemption.

  • Fr. Emil Lim, SVD Saint Jude Catholic School Manila



CHRIST LIVES: What we celebrate today is not the resurrection of a ghost. What we celebrate today is not multo (ghost). What we celebrate today is not a zombie rising from the embalmer’s table. What we celebrate today is not a dead man walking. What we celebrate today is not a man like Lazarus who rose from the dead and died again.

What we celebrate today is a great mystery of our faith – Christ rose from the dead. Hindi isang multo, hindi nakakatakot, hindi zombie, hindi kaluluwang muling bumanngon, (He is not a ghost, he is not scary, he is not a zombie. He is not a spirit that rose from the dead) but a glorified Christ, glorified in body and spirit. The wounds were still there but they were no longer wounds that make people afraid. They were wounds that left people in awe and wonder. The wounds were still there, the marks of sufferings were still there but those wounds had now been glorified. In  a totally different manner, the wounds are still there, the body is still there but this is resurrection. Only Christ has risen from the dead and He now lives forever with us.

What are the proofs that Christ is risen? What are the signs that Christ has risen from the dead, now lives forever, lives with us and lives among us? Our Easter word for this homily is SWAMPS. (Bp Soc Villegas DD Love Like Jesus pp 155-157)



Black Saturday: God’s Promise of a New Life

April 10, 2009, 3:37pm

It was a real death that put an end to Jesus’ earthly human existence. At about noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon because of an eclipse of the sun. Then the veil of the temple was torn down the middle. Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.’’ And when he had said this, he breathed his last. (Lk 23:44-46)

Jesus died in mid-afternoon of Friday, a few hours before the beginning of a new and sacred day for the Jews — the Sabbath which begins at 6 in the afternoon. Since the Jewish law permitted no work on the Sabbath, the followers of Jesus had to quickly bury his body if they could secure permission from Pilate. Roman authorities rarely granted permissions and the bodies of executed criminals were usually left unburied as carrion for the vultures and dogs.

Jesus was spared this indignity through the gracious intervention of Joseph of Arimethea, a silent follower of Jesus who was also a member of the Sanhedrin, the supreme Jewish council that condemned Jesus. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus and Pilate ordered it to be handed over. Taking the body, Joseph wrapped it in clean linen and laid it in his new tomb that he had hewn in the rock. Then he had a huge stone rolled across the entrance to the tomb and departed. (Mt 27:58-60)

While the death of Jesus was very real, it paved the way for a new kind of existence for Jesus and all those who believed in him. Paul pointed this out in a letter he wrote to the Romans: “We know that our old self was crucified with him, so that our sinful body might be done away with, that we might no longer be in slavery to sin. For a dead person has been absolved from sin. If, then, we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him.’’ (Romans 6:6-8)

Black Saturday invites us to remember God’s unfailing promise of rebirth to the whole of humanity and the rest of His creation. Tonight’s Easter Vigil liturgy in majestic scriptural proclamations formally reviews God’s blessings of renewal – from the blessings of creation, to the blessings of salvation history, to the blessing of Jesus. Then with the entire assembly – and with the soon-to-be-initiated new members – we are asked to reaffirm our faith publicly: “Do you believe in God, the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth? Do you believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son our Lord? Do you believe in the Holy Spirit?’’ It is by responding “We do!’’ that we prove that we are ready to celebrate the event precipitating newness of life for ourselves and the whole creation – the Resurrection.


HOLY SATURDAY (Easter Vigil): DESPEDIDA – Suddenly Jesus met them.”Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshipped him. – Mathew 28:9

My mom came home for a vacation last holiday season. It was the best holiday ever! Many of our relatives from abroad also came back to the country to celebrate with us. We had parties, overnights, camping trips and several reunions. Indeed, it was the most wonderful time of the year.

But after a few days, my mom was bidding us farewell and on her way back to UAE, where she works. It was time to say goodbye soon. We wanted to make her feel special by giving her gifts as remembrances of her time with us. We even hosted a fun despedida party, which many friends and relatives attended.

This made me think about how Jesus, before His coming death, bid farewell to His disciples. Jesus walking with the crown of thorns towards His crucifixion was not exactly a despedida  party. It was such an unceremonious ending to a very meaningful visit of this special Man, the Messiah.

This Holy Saturday, let us prepare ourselves to celebrate His return. Like Mary and Mary Magdalene, let us clasp His feet and worship Him for He has risen! Erika Mendoza (epaulmendoza@gmail.com)

Reflection: “For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his.” (Romans 6:5)

Lord, thank You for visiting us and changing our lives forever. Blessed Luchesio and Buonadonna, pray for us.



Easter Vigil – 1ST READING: In this very ordered and structured account of Creation that comes from what the scholars have called the Priestly Source, it is emphasized that God is the creator of all things. There is no accident about Creation; it is not a random event — God had a goal in mind and He achieved it — namely the creation of man and woman in His own image and likeness. Here begins the Church’s reflection upon redemption, in the original goodness and blessing of creation that ultimately leads to our redemption. In and through Jesus’ passion, death and resurrection, the Church teaches us that redeemed humanity is better than that before the Fall. Genesis 1:1—2:2 (or Genesis 22:1-18; Exodus 14:15—15:1; Isaiah 54:5-14; Isaiah 55:1- 11; Baruch 3: 9-15, 32—4:4; Ezekiel 36:16-28)

2ND READING: The dynamism of the Triduum is captured in the Church’s understanding of baptism and this is precisely what Paul is talking about here. He wants all Christians to understand that the resurrection of Jesus in which we participate first at baptism makes available to us the power of the resurrection. Sin has no more power over us — we have been set free to live for Christ and to proclaim this victory to all who do not yet know of it. Romans 6:3-11

GOSPEL: When we gaze at the cross, we need to ask ourselves, “What happened when that Man died on the cross?” When we reflect upon the resurrection, we need to ask ourselves, “What happened when that Man rose from the dead?” If we can answer these two questions, we will be on our way to discovering God’s will for us. They will tell us what it means to be a disciple of Jesus and how we can live out this call daily. If we follow this, we will discover our path to holiness. Matthew 28:1-10

think:  Celebrate during the Easter vigil the goodness of God.



LOOKING FOR JESUS: There are no Masses or any liturgical gatherings in churches today. This is to remind us that during the first Holy Week, this day is properly “Black Saturday.” The Blessed Mother, the Eleven, and the women disciples — after burying Jesus in a borrowed tomb — could have spent this day in sorrow, in blank stares, lost in mixed emotions of pain, loss, anxiety, senselessness and suspended anticipation for what is to come. In a way, we, the disciples of today, are more blessed for we know that this day ends in victory, in the celebration of Jesus’ Resurrection. In fact, many would spend this day, no longer in silence and sober solemnity, but in celebration. Some would go to the beaches to enjoy the cool and fresh waters. Others, like music ministers and sacristans, would be busy rehearsing for the Easter Vigil tonight.

One thing binds us both. The story of Mary and the disciples in suspended anticipation, and the preoccupations now of contemporary Christians: all these underscore how the presence of Jesus alive is the essence of our lives. Our lives revolve around Jesus. Mary and the first community of believers were “looking for Jesus” in their grief and loss. On our part, we “look forward to Jesus” in our preparations to celebrate the liturgies of Easter.

The Christian Creed, formulated by Fathers of both the Western (Roman Catholic) and the Eastern (Orthodox) Christians, makes us aware of another important reality of this day. Amidst the silence and loss that the first disciples had as they “looked for Jesus” in their sorrowing hearts, the fact is — Jesus, in His spirit, was alive! His body laid in the tomb, but His Spirit “descended to the dead” to visit all the souls who had died before He came for the mission of salvation. This day, as the living are “looking for Jesus,” Jesus has gone looking for all who have died. To them, He communicates the gift of salvation and He opens the entrance of the heavenly kingdom. His saving sacrifice on the Cross was the key needed to do all these. Fr. Domie Guzman, SSP

REFLECTION QUESTION: What are your plans for today? As we anticipate Easter, and we confess today Jesus’ descent to the dead, take the time to intercede for family members, relatives and friends who have died within the year.

Today, Lord, let me lift up to You all my family members, relatives and friends who are still in purgatory, awaiting for their time to be admitted into Your Kingdom.



There is no WORD Today. Christ the Word descended to the dead (Creed) and raised up all who have slept ever since the world began (catechism # 635). Christ went to Sheol, where all who have died before Him went. There He preached to them (1Pt 3:19) so that they too may believe in the Gospel and be saved. ONLY when we repent and follow the Gospel can Christ save us (John 14:6).

The Gospel is like the operator’s manual that comes with a new high-tech gadget. We’ll never fully enjoy all the features until we read the instructions. We may even damage the gadget.

Let’s review the Sermon on the Mount (Mt. 5-7) and know our sins. Let’s wait for the His Resurrection at the Vigil Mass tonight and together with Him, arise to a renewed faith and new adventures of committed service for others (Fr. Iko Bajos – April 19, 2014)


See Today’s Readings:  Year I,   Year II

Back to: Easter Vigil (Holy Saturday)

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