Saturday, April 15, 2006
Duccio di Boninsegna 1255-1318
Museo dell'Opera Metropolitana, Siena
On Holy Saturday we commemorate the day Christ’s body lay in the tomb. The Church also contemplates the mystery, in the Apostle's Creed, "He descended into Hell.”
The Church makes a distinction between the Hell of the damned and the place of the dead. Christ did not release the souls of the damned. The suffering of the souls condemned to the Hell of the damned never ends. Christ released the righteous people who were still in need of a Savior in order to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.
His body was still in the sleep of death, but his Spirit was active, ransoming souls from sin and death. Death was defeated from within. By his death on the cross Christ gave us all hope of unending life. It is a day of suspension between death and life, but ultimately life is victorious.
On Holy Saturday the Church is still in mourning. It should be quiet day, yet our mourning is tempered by our faith in the Resurrection of Christ from the dead that we begin to celebrate at the Easter Vigil.