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Holy Saturday is preparation time

?YOU HAVE fasted with the Lord, now feast with him?. With like words, the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Lucknow, Rt Rev Dr Albert D?Souza, will announce the conclusion of the 46-day Lenten period, as the Easter Vigil service ends at the St Joseph?s Cathedral.

india Updated: Apr 15, 2006 00:22 IST

“YOU HAVE fasted with the Lord, now feast with him”. With like words, the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Lucknow, Rt Rev Dr Albert D’Souza, will announce the conclusion of the 46-day Lenten period, as the Easter Vigil service ends at the St Joseph’s Cathedral.

Saturday midnight, and the St Joseph’s Cathedral will witness an overawing sight as the faithful gather outside the church in pitch darkness. In hushed silence Dr D’Souza will pronounce words as he lights the special Easter Candle. With it, the gathered will light the ones they hold and as the Bishop leads, the devout will enter the Cathedral, carrying lighted candles — symbolising Christ the Light of the World —taking the Light to different corners of the world. The bells that fell silent on Maundy Thursday will peal again with joy and merriment, sounding that Christ is arisen. And the adrenalin-shot choir will deliver an inspired rendition of ‘Glory to God in the Highest’.

The period between Good Friday and Easter Sunday is called Holy Saturday. It is a time of anticipation, of prayer and preparation, as the devout ready themselves physically and spiritually for Christ to vanquish death and rise triumphant from the tomb.

But some history first. After Christ died, His body was taken down from the cross and placed in a freshly prepared tomb. However, ancient scriptures had prophesied that Christ would rise from the dead on the third day. It was a custom in those times that on the third day of somebody’s death, to anoint the body with special oils and spices. On the third day, dawn was yet to break when Mary Magdalene, Salome and Mary (mother of James) visited the cave where Christ’s body had been laid. When the three reached there, to their amazement, they found the rock covering the tomb’s mouth rolled away. They rushed inside but there was no body but only the cloths that had covered Him.

There was a flash of blinding light and there appeared an angel who greeted them with, “Why do you seek the living among the dead?” Scared out of their wits, the three women ran back and told Peter and the other disciples of what they had seen and heard.

Almost a week later, when the apostles were gathered in the Upper Room (possibly the same room where they had the Last Supper), unsure of what to do next, Christ suddenly revealed himself to them, to assure them that He was in fact arisen. He asked them not to be afraid and to go into the world and proclaim His message of Love and Humanity.

The Christian belief that Christ rose from the dead conquering sin, evil, falsehood and even death itself, is reason for celebration. It is indeed time for festivities to celebrate the victory of the ‘King’.