The Women prepare for annointing Jesus
After the crucifixion on Friday, the focus shifts to Jesus’ tomb and the women prepare to anoint his body
It is a day of waiting. Jesus is in Joseph of Arimathea’s family tomb which was typical of the time and cut into rock. This was a tomb for the wealthy based on the work that had been done to create it. It was forecast by Isaiah but well above Jesus station in life.
The earliest Biblical Gospel, Mark, says nothing about Saturday of Holy Week. There are some other references elsewhere about a mythological type of spiritual journey by Jesus into hell and releasing of the saint’s spirits (from 1 Peter 3) but that might refer to the ascension. Nothing historical is mentioned anywhere. The disciples are laying low probably fearful that the same thing might happen to them as did Jesus.
Luke notes that the women returned home “and prepared spices and ointments. On the sabbath they rested according to the commandment” (Luke 23:56). The preparing of the body would have been the main activity and typical of burial customs of the time.
Video introduction to Saturday
Holy Week Timeline- Saturday
Holy Week Visual Timeline- Sat/Sun
Let His Blood Be On Us
What Happened on Saturday of Holy Week ?
12 things you need to know about Holy Saturday
Progression of Faith Blog – Saturday
Passion Gallery 3 – Saturday
“Holy Saturday – the Forgotten Day – David Lose
The Great Vigil of Easter, when observed, is the first service of Easter. It is celebrated at a convenient time between sunset on Holy Saturday and sunrise on Easter Morning and is the climax of three days of Triduum (Thursday, Tenebrae, Friday, Saturday. Followers of Jesus began celebrating his Resurrection with the Easter Vigil service very early on. By 215 CE, we already have descriptions of services and liturgical prayers that the early Church was using. It was revived by our current prayer book.
The service normally consists of four parts:
1. The Service of Light. The service begins after sundown with people gathering outside in the dark. A new fire is kindled then blessed. Then the new Paschal Candle is blessed and lit. Once the Paschal Candle is lit, its flame is shared with all who light their taper candles from its flame. Then a candlelight procession is lead into the darkened church, stopping periodically to declare “The Light of Christ,” to which all respond “Thanks be to God!” The very ancient Exsultet is chanted by the deacon or other minister.
2. The Ministry of the Word. Then, in the candlelit darkness, lessons are read. There as a few as 4 and as many as 9 or even 12 in some services.
3. Baptism or the Renewal of Baptism. After the lessons, any candidates for Baptism are presented by their sponsors. In the midst of the gathered faithful, they take their baptismal vows and then the whole assembly renews their Baptismal Covenant with them.
4. The Ministry of the Sacrament. Then there is a loud noise in the darkness, reminiscent of the sound of the stone being rolled away from the entry to Jesus’ tomb, and everyone blows noisemakers or rings bells joyously as we celebrate the moment of Resurrection. All the lights are turned on and the candles at the altar are lit. Then the Gospel reading, telling the story of the first Easter morning, is told, followed by a homily. The first Eucharist of Easter is presented.