Here we are, in the mystery of the silence of Holy Saturday; and if we remain before the tomb, there is an invitation for us. The world about us seems all too full of darkness, and perhaps not merely in a generic sense, but in the concrete suffering and evil faced in our own lives and families. Yet if we linger here before the tomb, Jesus himself will draw near and speak words that seem to contradict all appearances, “Behold, I make all things new” (Rev 21:5). This moment, Jesus descends into the very depths of hell and conquers death with life and darkness with light. This is the moment when the first fruits of the Resurrection are already being called forth. And the Lord desires to meet each one of us in this place of the tomb, to do what he alone is capable of—transform us by the power of the Resurrection!
Although in this moment we are liturgically remembering Christ’s past suffering and victory on Holy Saturday, this power and grace is offered to us every time we participate in Mass and receive the Body and Blood of Jesus in the Eucharist. And what exactly happens in this mystery of Holy Communion? We who are sinners, who are weak, who are limited, receive him who is mercy, divine power, and infinite love, and we are continually transformed. This transformation in love is a transformation in how I see God, myself, and others. And as with all love, this gift of love that God offers to us in his Son, Jesus, beckons for a response. We are called to “follow in the footsteps of Jesus” (1 Pet 2:21) in all the dimensions of our lives.
So, what does this even begin to look like? What does this mean for us in our daily lives? St. Paul says that “God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power” (1 Cor 6:14). I want to offer this image of raising as one real way in which the encounter with Jesus, especially in the Eucharist, brings about a transformation of our hearts and lives.
At every Mass, we are invited to “Behold, the Lamb of God”, to raise our eyes and see God present to us. We then receive this love made flesh in the Eucharist and are sent forth into our lives to live this love, but now empowered with the very life of God which we received in the Eucharist. In our lives, we are then called to raise our eyes and recognize God’s presence in others: the poor, immigrants, the unborn, the elderly, etc. Society is so often blind, and too often we ourselves fall into the same trap of not having our eyes raised to see the dignity of others, especially those we consider to be our enemies.
As our bishops note in their document, Mystery of the Eucharist in the Life of the Church, “Men and women who are made ‘new’ by the love of God are able to change the rules and the quality of relationships, transforming even social structures. They are people capable of bringing peace where there is conflict, of building and nurturing fraternal relationships where there is hatred, of seeking justice where there prevails the exploitation of man by man. Only love is capable of radically transforming the relationships that men maintain among themselves.” (Mystery of the Eucharist in the Life of the Church, no. 43)
Here, then, is where we are invited to call on the grace given to us by Jesus in the Eucharist and then to imitate the love we have received from him. What kind of love is this? A merciful love, a patient love, a tender love, a forgiving love, a serving love, a self-sacrificial love. This is the love that conquered even the silence of the grave, the love that entered even the depths of hell and “made all things new.” We must receive this Eucharistic love so that we can be transformed by Jesus and in turn transform the world in which we live, making it new!
Reflection Question: Where in my life is Jesus inviting me to raise my eyes and see the dignity of others?
Action Point: Next time you are at Mass, think of one person you struggle to see and love, and ask Jesus for the grace to make your heart new towards that person, forgiving them if you have not yet done so.
Prayer: Reflect on John 15:12—“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” Ask Jesus to help you love as he loves.