REFLECTION FOR TODAY
April 3, 2021
By Fr. Andrew Ibegbulem, OSA
“Now there stood by the Cross of Jesus, His Mother, and His Mother’s sister, Mary of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalen” John 19:25
The Savior of the World died a cruel death upon the Cross. His scourged body was laid in the tomb. His disciples scattered and were fearful that they would be next. But our Blessed Mother kept vigil in the perfect hope that her Son would soon rise.
Traditionally, Saturdays within the Church year are dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. This ancient tradition developed in part due to the belief that, as others were filled with fear and confusion, Mother Mary kept vigil on Holy Saturday in prayerful anticipation of Jesus’ resurrection. She knew her Son would rise. She had hope beyond hope. Her faith was certain. Her love kept her vigilant as she awaited the return of her Son.
Holy Saturday is an ideal day to ponder the pondering heart of our Blessed Mother. There are several times in Sacred Scripture where we are told that Mother Mary pondered the mysteries of her Son’s life in her heart. She was one of the few who stood by Him in His agony and death.
In our gospel reference today, we are told She stood before the Cross and prayerfully pondered His perfect sacrifice. The Blessed Mother held His dead body in her arms and pondered where His spirit had gone. And today she keeps vigil, pondering His imminent return to her.
No one had been able to keep her from hastening to the place where her Son was to be crucified, and her love gave her courage to stand there, erect, near the Cross, to be present at the sorrowful agony and death of the One whom she loved above all, because He was both her Son and her God. Just as she had once consented to become His Mother, so she would now agree to see Him tortured from head to foot, and to be torn away from her by a cruel death.
She not only accepted, but she also offered. Jesus had willingly gone to His Passion, and Mary would willingly offer Her well-beloved Son for the glory of the Most Holy Trinity and the salvation of men. That is why the sacrifice of Jesus became Mary’s sacrifice.
This is not only because Mary offered it together with Jesus, and in Him, offered her own Son; but also, because, by this offering, she completed the most profound holocaust of herself, since Jesus was the center of her affections and of her whole life. God, who had given her this divine Son, asked, on Calvary, for a return of His gift, and Mary offered Jesus to the Father with all the love of her heart, in complete adherence to the divine will.
Ponder the reality of Holy Saturday in silence this day and allow the glorious heart of our Blessed Mother to inspire you and draw you more deeply into her life of faith, hope and love.
Dearest Mother Mary, on that first Holy Saturday, you kept vigil for your Son. You allowed the divine gift of hope to grow within you, and you allowed that hope to be your strength in the midst of the horror of the Cross. Pray for me that I may ponder your beautiful heart this day so that I, too, may be filled with hope as I endure the challenges of this earthly life. Give me a heart of joyful anticipation as I await the grace of new life our Lord so deeply desires to bestow upon me. Mother Mary, pray for me. Jesus, I do trust in You.