Holy Saturday retreat: ‘This man’s life was a failure’

Fr. J
Holy Saturday retreat: ‘This man’s life was a failure’
The dead Jesus of Holy Saturday, buried in a tomb he could not even call his own, is the very icon of utter poverty and powerlessness

The Holy Saturday Temptation

By the time our Lord was buried,
his broken body hurriedly laid
in a borrowed tomb,
it was pretty clear:
Judging by the world’s standards,
this man’s life was a failure.

He was a political failure:
Contrary to the hopes of his people,
he did not even try to liberate Israel
from the oppression of Rome.

He was a religious failure:
From all indications,
he failed to convert his people
or to establish the promised Kingdom.

And he was a personal failure:
He didn’t seem to have accomplished
anything noteworthy with his short life.
Worse, he died surrounded by enemies,
abandoned by his closest friends,
dying a death not only brutal but also most humiliating.

Certainly the evil one must have hovered around him
those final moments as he hung on the cross,
repeating his third temptation:
“Worship me,
and I will give you all the world’s kingdoms and powers.”

But once again,
and until his last breath
Jesus rejected this offer of crowns,
opting to keep his crown of thorns.

The dead Jesus of Holy Saturday,
buried in a tomb he could not even call his own,
is the very icon of utter poverty and powerlessness.

Deposition from the cross image via Shutterstock

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