which is embroidered or painted the image of Christ’s preparation for burial), the verysymbol of Jesus’ tomb and reminder of the day when – in the baptismal waters – wedied to the old ways to walk the path of a renewed life (see Romans 6:3-4). The tombremains the ultimate testimony of the entire drama and its unexpected end, theglorification of the Crucified one and of us, his faithful.The
being now laid on the altar’s holy table, there it will rest – asunquestionable witness of Christ’s resurrection this time – till the eve of the deifyingascent of the Lord. Made transparent by the resurrection, the tomb becomes a window tothe promised Kingdom to come; for the moment, however, it offers no hope.
After the Saturday of the Lord’s descent to Hades – where he found also us (this is whyon this Saturday we do not eat, since the dead no longer need food), enslaved by oursinfulness –, we meet again in the lightless church, a desolating scene of death anddefeat.
…We were hoping that it was he who was going to redeem Israel…
(Luke 24:21).Living the fear and hopelessness of the old Israel (see Hebrews 2:15), it is as if we are notyet God’s people, a nation of trust, joy and light (see 1 Peter 2:9). Still dominated by theprince of darkness, we are terrified by the darkness of ‘this world’. The church is now animage of our own tomb and the tomb has no comfort yet to bring us. It is also, andproperly, the cave where the Lord was interred and us with him: in the darkness of thetomb there is no horizon, no zenith, no escape… We remain silent and disoriented, sincethere is no sign yet of a victory; the only thing that keeps us safe, above all insecurity, isthe power of prayer.Suddenly, however, the joyful light emerges in the tomb and rapidly spreads from theLord of glory (the Light which shines in the dark) toward us. We are now resurrected byhim and together with him!
…Trampling down death by death and to those in the tombsbestowing life…
We are witnesses and participants, the righteous – sanctified by his grace– brought to the renewed life (cf. Matthew 27:51-3). Neither the soldiers have seen himfirst nor the myrrh-bearing women. It is us who have, since we are those being raised
together with him, a reality witnessed and poetically proclaimed by St JohnDamascene, the author of the divine
:Ἀναστάσεως ἡµέρα / The day of resurrection,λαµπρυνθῶµεν λαοί, / let us be radiant, O peoples!Πάσχα Κυρίου, Πάσχα, / Pascha, the Lord’s Pascha;ἐκ γὰρ θανάτου πρὸς ζωήν, / for from death to life,καὶ ἐκ γῆς πρὸς οὐρανόν, / and from earth to heaven,Χριστὸς ὁ Θεός, ἡµᾶς διεβίβασεν, / Christ God has brought us,ἐπινίκιον ἄδοντας. / those chanting the hymn of victory.