CANTICLE: SONG OF HEZEKIAH (ISAIAH 38:10-14, 17-20)
Once I said,
"In the noontime of life I must depart!
To the gates of the nether world I shall be consigned
for the rest of my years."
I said, "I shall see the Lord no more
in the land of the living.
No longer shall I behold my fellow men
among those who dwell in the world."
My dwelling, like a shepherd's tent,
is struck down and borne away from me;
You have folded up my life, like a weaver
who severs the last thread.
Day and night you give me over to torment;
I cry out until the dawn.
Like a lion he breaks all my bones;
day and night you give me over to torment.
Like a swallow I utter shrill cries;
I moan like a dove.
My eyes grow weak, gazing heavenward:
O Lord, I am in straits; be my surety!
You have preserved my life
from the pit of destruction,
When you cast behind your back
all my sins.
For it is not the nether world that gives you thanks,
nor death that praises you;
Neither do those who go down into the pit
await your kindness.
The living, the living give you thanks,
as I do today.
Fathers declare to their sons,
O God, your faithfulness.
The Lord is our savior;
we shall sing to stringed instruments
In the house of the Lord
all the days of our life.
There really is not a daily reading for Holy Saturday morning. The Church allows for the Liturgy of the Hours, but we are two thirds of the way through the Triduum- one prayer over three days. Instead, we mourn, wait and hope. Our society is not so good at any of those concepts. Holy Saturday is a day to stop and explore the emptiness of this reality: Jesus is dead. God is dead.
Since WE know the end of the story, for a moment, imagine yourself as one of Jesus dear disciples. Jesus was someone whose presence changed everything for you. He was full of life. You watched as he loosened the bonds of those caught in the slavery of sin, he healed those who were dying under the weight of their illness, he brought joy, hope and enthusiasm to every situation. Those who knew him had their lives changed. Even the well-known prostitute like Mary Magdalene, or the tax collectors like Zacchaeus and Matthew- you despised them for what they did to your friends and neighbors, but now they were among you, changed people. The routine life that you had resigned yourself to was renewed and full of hope. What was once a life of drudgery had become a dance of joy and wholeness. You had become convinced that Jesus was not just a man, but the Messiah, the son of the living God. He was going to liberate Israel and change the course of history before your eyes. But now he was dead. Locked away in a cave stuck behind a stone never to be seen again. What a fool you were! How did you get taken in by this shyster? This had to be the biggest con of all time. You came to believe that this man was the Messiah, only to be devastated by the fact that he was executed a common criminal, humiliated, minimized and defeated. How stupid were you? Most of all you just miss your friend.
This is where the disciples were sitting. Worn out. Sad. Confused. Grieving. Uncertain and fearful of what is next. Might they also have the same fate as Jesus? We know the story has more to come, but in about the year 33, Peter could never have imagined what we know now. So, it is with us. Today resist the urge to rush to the tomb. Sit with your grief, fear, anxiety or uncertainty of whatever is happening in your life. Allow the seed that you been given to be planted in the soil to sit in the dark, alone so that it can germinate. Know that the disciples of the early Church are with you- grieving, praying, sitting, waiting, hoping for something more. Trust. Be.
These Lenten reflections are written by friends of 12plus1, Inc. Discovery House, a service-based gap year experience for participants ages 18-20, will begin August 2018. Please share this information with an individuals who may want to participate or support this new ministry.
- What are you grieving? What needs healing? What is worn out in your life?
- What needs to die?
- Where do you need a new start?
PRAY listen to the song and simply give to God all of your grief, pain and fear. Ask for healing and new life.
FAST from rushing to the Resurrection. Sit quietly with the unknown.
ALMSGIVING Give someone in need your time and ear. Do not let them walk alonetime and quiet to yourself today. Just be yourself in front of God.
Joe Nettesheim is the founder and director of 12plus1. He has been involved in Church Ministry since 1991. He and his wife Maribeth have a blended family of 5 children, 2 sons in-law, 6 grandkids and a crazy 80 pound Golden Doodle, puppy TS Eliot.