We started last Palm Sunday, now it's Black Saturday. God is dead. He has been laid in the tomb. He is in the darkness of death. He is in the darkness of the cave. Everything is silent. The savior is dead. But to make a Black Saturday black because of death, black because of sadness, of grief, black because of the eerie silence of the tomb.
Jesus is buried in the sepulcher |artwork by Gustave Dore
I've been given a privilege several times to visit the Holy Sepulcher, the Tomb of Jesus in Jerusalem. It is one of the holiest places in the Holy Land. And for you to enter the Holy Sepulcher, the Tomb of Jesus, you need to bow down. It is a dark place. It is quiet. It is empty. There is nothing.
Death leaves us with nothing but emptiness. For many of you like me who are still in the stage of grief and sadness and pain because of the loss of a loved one, especially during this time of the pandemic, I hear you. I am one with you. For all of you who are still feeling empty at this time of your life because of your disappointments. You did not pass the bar exam, you fail in your course, you lost your job, you separated from your husband or wife, you are all alone. It's death at its most difficult moment.
They say that the feeling of death, if there is such a thing, is the feeling of being numb. There's nothing. No joy or even sadness. There is just nothing. It's just darkness. And we have to remember that everything started with that. If you go back to the Book of Genesis, everything started in darkness, in emptiness, in nothingness. In the Carmelite spirituality of John of the Cross and Teresa of Avila, the spirituality of the “Nada”, of the nothing. It is not at all empty because there's no life.
Empty could actually be a moment when we are being recreated, regenerated. It is also the time when we are slowly germinating or growing. Let us not be impatient. Like the caterpillar in the cocoon, there is so much darkness. But in reality, something is growing and something is moving in the darkness, like the baby in the womb of a mother. In the first weeks of the child, there could be nothing, there could be darkness. But there was life, and there is life pulsating. There is a life that is generating and growing.
So darkness, silence could be moments of preparation for something. It could be the preparation for a new creation in your life. We are in some sort of a retreat. Black Saturday is a moment to take stop of ourselves, of our lives. What is happening? Take advantage of the silence because we may find something there in the eerie silence of Black Saturday.
Darkness does not mean lifeless. Darkness could actually just be the beginning of something new in our lives. Something is being formed in us, without us knowing it. Something could be emerging in us without us acknowledging it. Every darkness is the beginning of light and every nothingness is the beginning of something big in our lives.
Brothers and sisters, dear friends, Black Saturday. Yes, it is about sadness. It is about grief. But it could also be an anticipation of something that is about to happen. Be patient. Let us not be impatient. As Jesus entered and descended into hell, this day, the Lord is entering into the hellish parts of our lives. He could also be entering, going into the hell of our lives and he is lifting us up. He is raising us up slowly as he commanded all the souls in purgatory. This day, the Lord is commanding us also, “Rise up, join me. Something big is about to happen.” Let us not grow tired of the dark. Eventually, we will see the light.
Transcribed by Kovie Kraft