|The Two Marys Watch the Tomb of Jesus, by James Tissot|
Most of our lives are spent in Holy Saturday. In other words, most of our days are not filled with the unbearable pain of a Good Friday. Nor are they suffused with the unbelievable joy of an Easter. Some days are indeed times of great pain and some are of great joy, but most are…in between. Most are, in fact, times of waiting, as the disciples waited during Holy Saturday. We’re waiting. Waiting to get into a good school. Waiting to meet the right person. Waiting to get pregnant. Waiting to get a job. Waiting for things at work to improve Waiting for diagnosis from the doctor. Waiting for life just to get better.
But there are different kinds of waiting. There is the wait of despair. Here we know--at least we think we know--that things could never get better, that God could never do anything with our situations. This may be the kind of waiting that forced the fearful disciples to hide behind closed doors on Holy Saturday, cowering in terror. Of course they could be forgiven; after Jesus was executed they were in danger of being rounded up and executed by the Roman authorities. (Something tells me, though, that the women disciples, who overall proved themselves better friends than the men during the Passion, were more hopeful.) Then there is the wait of passivity, as if everything were up to “fate.” In this waiting there is no despair, but not much anticipation of anything good either.
Finally, there is wait of the Christian, which is called hope. It is an active waiting; it knows that, even in the worst of situations, even in the darkest times, God is at work. Even if we can’t see it clearly right now. The disciples’ fear was understandable, but we, who know how the story turned out, who know that Jesus will rise from the dead, who know that God is with us, who know that nothing will be impossible for God, are called to wait in faithful hope. And to look carefully for signs of the new life that are always right around the corner--just like they were on Holy Saturday.
James Martin, SJ