Friday, March 21, 2008

V/. Adoramus te, Christe, et benedicimus tibi.
R/. Quia per sanctam crucem tuam redemisti mundum.


“He was crucified, died and was buried...”
The lifeless body of Christ has been laid in the tomb. But the stone of the tomb is not the final seal on his work.
The last word belongs not to falsehood, hatred and violence.
The last word will be spoken by Love, which is stronger than death.
“Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit” (Jn 12:24).
The tomb is the last stage of Christ’s dying through the whole course of his earthly life; it is the sign of his supreme sacrifice for us and for our salvation.
Very soon this tomb will become the first proclamation of praise and exaltation of the Son of God in the glory of the Father.
“He was crucified, died and was buried,. . . on the third day he rose from the dead”.
Once the lifeless body of Jesus is laid in the tomb, at the foot of Golgotha, the Church begins the vigil of Holy Saturday.
In the depths of her heart, Mary stores and ponders the Passion of her Son;
the women agree to meet on the morning of the day after the Sabbath, in order to anoint Christ’s body with aromatic ointments;
the disciples gather in the seclusion of the Upper Room, waiting for the Sabbath to pass.
This vigil will end with the meeting at the tomb, the empty tomb of the Saviour.
Then the tomb, the silent witness of the Resurrection, will speak.
The stone rolled back, the inner chamber empty, the cloths on the ground,
this will be what John sees when he comes to the tomb with Peter:

“He saw and he believed” (Jn 20:8).
And with him the Church believed,
and from that moment she never grows weary of communicating to the world this fundamental truth of her faith:
“Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep” (1 Cor 15:20).
The empty tomb is the sign of the definitive victory
of truth over falsehood,
of good over evil,
of mercy over sin,
of life over death.
The empty tomb is the sign of the hope which “does not deceive” (Rom 5:5).
“[Our] hope is full of immortality” (cf. Wis 3:4).


Lord Jesus Christ,
by the power of the Holy Spirit,
you were drawn by the Father
from the darkness of death
to the light of a new life in glory.
Grant that the sign of the empty tomb
may speak to us and to future generations
and become a wellspring of living faith,
generous love,
and unshakable hope.
To you, O Jesus, whose presence, hidden and victorious,
fills the history of the world,
be honor and glory for ever and ever.

R. Amen.

--John Paul II
Meditations for the Via Crucis 2000