Great Saturday of the Light
The Church awaits the resurrection of the Lord—the long “Awaited Light.” After his crucifixion the Lord remained in the tomb before his resurrection and, as the creed reminds us, he descended to hell—the place of the dead—that his light might shine upon them and that they might rejoice in the light of his face.
As we await the resurrection of Christ, may his death and burial be for us a symbol of faith and repentance. We are called to bury the old man of sin and corruption and put on the new man of glorious life. Thus we shall live in justice and holiness of truth.
On this day of waiting and personal preparation for the resurrection, the Divine Mysteries are not celebrated nor is the Holy Eucharist distributed, instead the prayer of forgiveness is celebrated. We thus close the great week of the passion of the Lord by washing our hearts with contrition and penance and by reconciling ourselves with one another.
Sunday of the Glorious Resurrection
The Church celebrates the Resurrection of our Lord as the “feast of feasts”. After being plunged into the darkness of the crucifixion and death of Jesus we are now filled with the light of the resurrection. The cross, which was the instrument of death, has now become the glorious beacon, which enlightens the world.
In order to express its joy the Church extends the celebration of the resurrection for a week of weeks, that is, for fifty days. The season of Resurrection begins with the feast of the Resurrection and ends with the gifts of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost. On the fortieth day of this season (the Thursday after the Fifth Sunday of Resurrection) the feast of the Ascension of the Lord is celebrated…
The joy and peace that flow from the Lord’s resurrection are expressed today by the Rite of Peace, which follows the gospel in the Divine Mysteries. The cross is removed from the tomb where it has rested since Great Friday and is draped in white. It is carried through the Church accompanied by hymns of praise and joy. The priest solemnly blesses the congregation with the glorious cross and then presents it to them that they might adore it.
By his living cross Christ has saved us from going astray and given us a way to heaven. Through the cross, peace and harmony reign among God’s people and we are led to perfection.
Excerpts taken from the Maronite Divine Office