For most Catholics, Holy Saturday is a kind of blank. Since there is no liturgy for Saturday itself, we don’t hear homilies explaining it. Good Friday drives home the passion, and Easter booms with the resurrection, but Holy Saturday has no one to preach it.
And yet the Catechism says startling things about Holy Saturday. In this post I’ll focus on just one aspect: Christ’s stay in the tomb. Here’s what the Catechism says (paragraph 626), echoing an ancient and consistent tradition:
Since the “Author of life” who was killed is the same “living one [who has] risen”, the divine person of the Son of God necessarily continued to possess his human soul and body, separated from each other by death:
By the fact that at Christ’s death his soul was separated from his flesh, his one person is not itself divided into two persons; for the human body and soul of Christ have existed in the same way from the beginning of his earthly existence, in the divine person of the Word; and in death, although separated from each other, both remained with one and the same person of the Word.
To put that in plain English, we all know that when we walk by Grandpa’s casket, the corpse in the casket is not Grandpa anymore—not really. But when Joseph of Arimathea laid Jesus’ corpse in the tomb, that corpse was not a man but it was still Jesus—really and truly. Continue reading “God in the Tomb”