Sixth Week of Lent: Holy Saturday
The Burial of Our Lord
1st Prelude. Be present in spirit at the descent from the cross and the burial of Jesus.
2nd Prelude. Ask for grace to pass this the last day of lent holily.
POINT I. "And after these things [an hour after the death of our Lord], Joseph of Arimathea (because he was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly, for fear of the Jews) besought Pilate that he might take away the Body of Jesus. And Pilate gave leave. He came therefore, and took away the Body of Jesus. And Nicodemus also came, he who at first came to Jesus by night, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds weight. They took therefore the Body of Jesus, and bound it in linen cloths, with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury. Now there was, in the place where He was crucified, a garden, and in the garden a sepulchre, wherein no man had been laid. There, therefore, because of the parasceve of the Jews, they laid Jesus, because the sepulchre was nigh at hand."
CONSIDERATION. Behold the mournful scene at the foot of the cross: the crowd and the soldiers are already gone, the three Marys and the Apostle St. John are left alone; at length God sends two men to their help, two who before their conversion were weak and fearful, but whom grace has made bold and resolute; they mount the ladders, they remove the nails that pierce that sacred Body. Their hands unfasten Jesus and place Him in the arms of His Blessed Mother; it is they too, who aid this most sorrowful Mother to bind His sacred Body in linen cloths, with spices, and who place it at last in the glorious sepulchre of which Isaias has spoken in prophecy.
APPLICATION. Consider, here, how God acted towards His well-beloved Son; He who was formerly humiliated and abandoned is now honoured and cared for after death. So will God act towards us if we humbly and lovingly resign ourselves to His will in adversity.
AFFECTIONS and RESOLUTIONS.
POINT II. "And the next day, which followed the day of preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees came together to Pilate, saying, Sir, we have remembered that that seducer said while He was yet alive, After three days I will rise again. Command, therefore, the sepulchre to be guarded until the third day, lest perhaps His disciples come and steal Him away, and say to the people, He is risen from the dead. So the last error shall be worse than the first. And Pilate said to them, You have a guard; go, guard it as you know. And they, departing, made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting guards".
CONSIDERATION. Admire the providence of God in all these circumstances -- in the new sepulchre, near where Our Lord was crucified, hewn out of a rock, as well as the sealing of the stone and placing a guard; the precautions taken by His enemies making it impossible even to approach Him in His grave. Our Lord permitted it, to place the truth of His resurrection beyond dispute -- a truth which is the basis of His Gospel.
APPLICATION. We believe in an ever-working Providence; far be it from us to look on events here below as chances or accidents; far from us that despondency which occasionally overpowers the most devoted servants of our Lord at beholding the temporary triumphs of impiety. It was when the disciples of Jesus thought all was lost that their Master overcame the grave and confounded His enemies for ever. Far from us also that melancholy which the sight of death or a funeral sometimes produces; let us conquer it by the consoling thought of the resurrection, from which we shall pass, as did our Lord, from death unto life eternal.
COLLOQUY with Jesus in the sepulchre.