Today a great silence reigns in the land; A great silence, and stillness …
(Ancient Holy Saturday Homily)
The same expectative silence that reigned during the dark, cold days of Advent now seem to have settled in a concentrated form in this great and holy Saturday. It’s true. Today, we are experiencing another type of Advent; again we are waiting for the coming of new life. We await the arrival of our Lord and God. Today it seems as if He has disappeared; we no longer hear the soft beatings of His Heart; we no longer experience the warmth of His gentle and humble embrace.
A still silence has settled upon the earth, because the Life as entered death. As a parent sends his child to sit in the silence of the corner to think of what has done, we sit now in still silence to consider what we have done to our God and what our God has done for us. This great, still, silence allows us to ponder what has happened, why it has happened and to where these happenings are leading.
The Upper Room, the Garden, the Scourging, the Cross, the Crucifixion, the Pierced Heart; just because these events of love have passed into history, we can’t allow them to leave our heart’s contemplation. We can’t forget, what has occurred, why it has occurred and to where these occurrences are leading us. Silence is the medium through which we contemplate in our present situation the past in order to prepare ourselves for events still to come.
Jesus is dead and a great silence, like a fog covering a cold lake has settled around us. It’s a mysterious silence, but also a pregnant silence that is full of life; it holds a promise that will not end in the still-born silence of death. It’s a silence that tells us something great is soon to occur. With the passing of today’s activities, time ticks by, drawing all of existence to his awaited coming. It is a matter of patience. It is a matter of sitting in silence, hoping for his return.
As Advent ends with the great gift of new-born life, tonight, our patient, hope-filled waiting will be rewarded once again with the gift of life. The seed that fell into the ground has died. Now, from the earth new Life will be born. When morning breaks, the silence of Saturday will be shattered. The God-Man will speak again: “…I was dead, and behold I am alive for evermore…” (Rev1:18).
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