From ‘blackness’ of Holy Saturday to Easter Sunday’s ‘rebirth’
Inspired & Blessed

From ‘blackness’ of Holy Saturday to Easter Sunday’s ‘rebirth’

Mar 30, 2024, 2:21 AM
Bob Acebedo

Bob Acebedo


Holy Saturday is called “Black Saturday”. Why?

Here’s an answer. As black symbolizes death and mourning, it was on Holy Saturday –
after Good Friday’s crucifixion – that Jesus’ disciples mourned his death and, since it was a
Sabbath day, they rested. The gospel of Luke notes that “the women returned home and prepared
spices and ointments; on the Sabbath day they rested according to the commandment” (Luke
23:56). At the tomb of Jesus, the guards that had been stationed there kept watch over the place
to make sure that the disciples did not steal Jesus’ body.

But, as articulated by the Apostles Creed, did Jesus really “descend into hell” on the first
Holy Saturday?

The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC #633) rightly teaches:

“Scriptures 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 (Phil. 2:10; Acts 2:24; Rev. 1:18; Eph. 4:9). 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, nor to destroy the hell of damnation, but to free the just who had gone before him.”

The blackness of the first Holy Saturday, hence, points out to Jesus’ death and God’s
seeming “silence.” God was “silent” on Black Saturday. The cadaver of Christ was as mute as
the stone which guards it.

If Holy Saturday’s blackness or silence somehow torments us, it is best to reckon that we
just have to do what Jesus did. Lie still. Stay silent, and trust God. Jesus knew God would not
leave him alone in the grave. God will not leave us alone in our struggles. God’s silence is not
necessarily his absence. His seeming inactivity, particularly during the “Black Saturdays” of our
life, is never his apathy. This is so because on the first Holy Saturday, the empty tomb – not the
empty cross – verily points to the reality of Jesus’ glorious resurrection on Easter Sunday!

But, with our Easter celebration once again, some may yet ask with a tinge of cynicism:
What’s NEW? After all, by Easter Monday we’re “normally” back to the same old problems!

Let me put in my two cents worth. There’s always something “new” that happens every
Easter Sunday. And this occurs profoundly during the Easter Vigil Rites. During these sacred
rites, we RENEW our baptismal vows and once again swear – supposedly in solemn sincerity –
to “shun Satan or sinfulness and re-embrace a dynamic faith in the Holy Trinity, the Church, and
eternal life”.

Hence, Easter is supposedly a REBIRTH, a RE-BAPTISM, or a NEW LIFE of
profoundly meaningful relationship with God, with others (family especially), and with the

Sanctity is not an “out-of-this-world” phenomenon but is an everyday life experience –
and this is being renewed or re-animated on Easter celebration.

Happy and blessed Easter to one and all!

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