There is a lot going on in the Church today causing discouragement among faithful Catholics. While there are many similarities between our time and the apostles, we have one thing they had not yet received: hope in the resurrection. They had a theoretical understanding: there was going to be a resurrection some day in the future. But I doubt they felt it was going to be anytime soon, most especially, not the next day. And when the resurrection did occur, although nothing else in their lives had changed, it made all the difference in the world.
Trying to reflect on what it was like on that Holy Saturday so long ago I see religious leaders who had, in truth, inwardly abandoned God and their posts, while hanging on with every ounce of their strength to the power and respectability those positions provided. The people not only had no one to teach them, but were actually afraid of them. And their leaders’ covetousness knew no bounds, culminating in the crucifixion of the One they felt imperiled that power and respect. The same one the apostles had set their faith and hope upon. The only light shining in the darkness had been snuffed out. Dark days indeed. But the religious leaders didn’t stop there. They were more than willing to imprison and stone any who followed Christ. And the people were powerless to do anything about it.
Like ourselves, they had no authority to change leadership. They had to live with false teachings and intimidation tactics. And, if anyone taught differently, they were accused of being the devil. Sad thing to say our times are much like theirs. Different actors, but the same story line. The same attitudes. The same scattering with only one difference: the resurrection belonged to the apostle’s future, but to our always.
So a darker time for the apostle’s, but despite the darkness it took them only one or two days maximum to regroup after being scattered. The apostles were together when the women announced Christ had been resurrected that Easter Sunday so long ago. They didn’t know what to do and they were afraid, but regroup they did. And when they discovered Christ had been resurrected, they gained an entirely new perspective, even though neither their situation or their abilities had changed.
Perhaps, we can take our cue from the them and use Holy Saturday to regroup and re-orient our perspective in light of the resurrection. Yes, we don’t always know what to do, but neither did they. Christ provided them the needed hope and direction. As he is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow the same hope and direction applies to us today. Yes, we aren’t perfect, but neither were they. Christ still used them. Yes, the times are dark and we have enemies in the Church, so did they. That didn’t stop them. Yes, we may be ignorant of our faith, but so were they. They still had much to work out. Christ still sent them. We have 2,000 years of working it out to call upon. We’ve got one step up on them. Yes, the apostles had a Pentecost, but no one who followed did. They still went.