History Lesson

Part Six of an eight-part series of reflections on Lent, Holy Week, and Easter

Did you notice how much Olympic coverage was spent in telling the backstory of the athletes? The actual events were scattered between interviews and video segments exploring the athlete’s hometown, first time on skates, skis, or a snowboard, and family background.

We like a backstory. It helps us understand the person in front of us. It helps us to see why they do what they do. It helps us to put together the meaning behind their actions.

On Holy Saturday, we are given lots and lots of backstory. Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection are understood so much more clearly in the context of the rest of the story.

We start at the very beginning – the story of Creation. God made everything. Everything. The plants, the animals, us. And it was good. We don’t hear it in the reading, but we also know that there was a fall from grace. We didn’t trust in God, we wanted more than what He gave, and we lost what we had. This early, Jesus was there, and the plan was set in motion. From the beginning, God knew what He had to do to bring us back.

Then, we see Abraham as he is ready to sacrifice his only beloved son. God will not require it of Abraham, but the parallels of the story make it clear that this is what will be offered for us. We will not stop it.

We see God save the Israelites when they are trapped on one side by Pharoah’s army and on another side by the sea. Through no power of their own, they are saved and set free from slavery and death. We will be, too.

Over and over again, we will hear that what we have just experienced and seen has been done for us out of incredible love. We will hear that what has just happened on Holy Thursday and Good Friday is meant to set us free from sin and to bring us back to our God who loves us.

We may not hear all of these readings on Saturday, since many of them are optional. I encourage you to read them on your own as you prepare for Easter or the Easter Vigil.

Get the backstory.

Thank you to everyone who has purchased a copy of my new book Walking Through Holy Week. Order your copy here to make it a good Lent!

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Karen May

Inspirational Catholic Writer and Speaker

based in Austin, Texas