Magazine article U.S. Catholic

Are We There Yet? Even Jesus Had to Spend Some Time-Holy Saturday to Be Exact-Waiting to See If Things Were Going to Work Out

Magazine article U.S. Catholic

Are We There Yet? Even Jesus Had to Spend Some Time-Holy Saturday to Be Exact-Waiting to See If Things Were Going to Work Out

Article excerpt

WHAT WILL YOU BE DOING APRIL 15? Of course, in the United States it's tax day, but this year it's also Holy Saturday--you know, that boring day between Good Friday and Easter Sunday, when we just, well, wait. Good Friday is full of processions, Passion plays, long liturgies, grand silence. Easter Sunday begins with a late night of readings, Baptisms, and alleluias, and rounds out with chocolate bunnies and baked ham. But Holy Saturday is empty, quiet; even Jesus doesn't do anything but be dead.

It's too bad, though, that this whole day of nothing gets so overlooked. After all, most of our lives are Holy Saturdays, the time between the hard knocks and the great triumphs, between bad news and glad tidings, between death and resurrection.

I think my grandmother understands this. At 92 she has said good-bye to most of the people she has loved: her parents, her husband, both sisters, countless aunts and uncles and cousins, and finally her dearest childhood friend and longest companion. And after almost 40 years as a widow, I think it's safe to say she's ready to rejoin my grandfather on her own Easter Sunday. But for now she waits.

My friend's father also "gets" Holy Saturday. After being successfully treated for cancer, his tumor reappeared. His doctors say they should see how fast it grows before they decide how to treat it. So he waits, too.

And I'll bet the people of New Orleans are experiencing this Holy Saturday in a way they never have, after being drowned in a sea of waves and covered in a mountain of ruin, then finally papered over with neglect. They're waiting, too, though many probably wonder if there's going to be an Easter after the storm. And even though most of them aren't Christian, those who endured a devastating tsunami a scant 15 months ago are probably living Holy Saturday more profoundly than most Catholics ever will.

Not all our Holy Saturdays are so dramatic or terrible, of course. Students wait for report cards, high school seniors for acceptance (or rejection) letters. The poor wait in daily lines for food, for shelter, for almost everything. Anxious parents spend weekly Holy Saturday nights on the couch, waiting for beloved, if unpredictable, teens to make it home safely. …

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