Holy Saturday Gospel reflection: The living presence of the Risen Lord

Fresco on the exterior main entrance to the Basilica de San Marco in Venice, Italy. Photo: AMA/Shutterstock

This is the holiest night of the year — the night when we celebrate Christ’s victory over the power of sin and death. This is the night when we listen to a series of readings that proclaim God’s constant presence and care for all humanity. It begins with the story of creation, moves through Israel’s miraculous escape from slavery in Egypt, and includes God’s promise of unending love made known by the prophets and fulfilled in Christ.

The Gospel proclaims life, but with a twist. We hear the Resurrection account from Mark’s Gospel with its surprise ending, different from the other Gospels. Mark tells us that the women discovered the empty tomb and then left, filled not with joy but with fear. Clearly, they did not immediately understand what had happened. Their first reaction may have been confusion, but it was not despair.

The Resurrection, the central doctrine of our faith, is the promise of life even in the midst of death. It gives hope and points toward a better future, requiring us to be ready without knowing how or when this might occur.

Tonight’s celebration is the light we cling to in darkness and difficulty. Even when we lack clear understanding of how God is at work, we — like the women at the tomb that first Easter morning — cling to faith in a loving God who overcomes death with life.

— Barbara Bozak


Genesis 1:1—2:2 or Genesis 1:1, 26–31A

Psalm 104:1–2, 5–6, 10, 12, 13–14, 24, 35 or Psalm 33:4–5, 6–7, 12–13, 20 and 22

Genesis 22:1–18 or Genesis 22:1–2, 9A, 10–13, 15–18

Psalm 16: 5, 8, 9–10, 11

Exodus 14:15—15:1

Exodus 15:1–2, 3–4, 5–6, 17–18 (Response)

Isaiah 54:5–14

Psalm 30:2, 4, 5–6, 11–12, 13

Isaiah 55:1–11

Isaiah 12:2–3, 4, 5–6 (Response)

Baruch 3:9–15, 32C4:4

Psalm 19:8, 9, 10, 11

Ezekiel 36:16–17A, 18–28

Psalm 42:3, 5; 43:3, 4 (when Baptism is celebrated); or Isaiah 12:2–3, 4BCD, 5–6 (when Baptism is not celebrated); or Psalm 51:12–13, 14–15, 18–19 (when Baptism is not celebrated)

Romans 6:3–11

Psalm: 118: 1–2, 16–17, 22–23

Mark 16:1–7


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