The introduction of the Roman missal for Holy Saturday states that “on Holy Saturday the Church waits at the Lord’s tomb, meditating on his suffering and death. The altar is left bare, and the sacrifice of the mass is not celebrated. Only after the solemn vigil during the night, held in anticipation of the resurrection, does the Easter celebration begin, with a spirit of joy that over flows into the following period of fifty days.”
The liturgy for the Easter Vigil unfolds from darkness to the brightness of the resurrection of Jesus depicting the triumph of love over sin and death.
Whereas the practice in the Jewish synagogues (as described by Henri Daniel-Rops in the book Daily Life in Palestine at the Time of Christ) was that “after the prayers came the essence of the service, the reading of the law, the Hazzan took the holy scroll first from the ark and then from its two wrappings, and offered it to the first of seven readers. True reading was required, and it was forbidden to utter more than one verse by hear t.”
In our Catholic liturgy readings, we have seven readings recounting God’s intervention in our salvation history and then the Epistle before the proclamation of the gospel. It is here that the Christian tradition had recognized the coming of the Messiah, his revelations and His saving act to bring us hope.
In our Gospel, after the scene at the tomb, the women who saw Jesus
alive were told: “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers that they
must leave for Galilee; they will see me there.” What does Galilee
mean? It means that they were reminded of the beginnings of their
encounter with Jesus and how he touched them. Our liturgies help us to
remember our encounters as well where we will see Jesus. Lately, how
important are our own histories of encounters?