Today’s reflection is from Beatrice Parwatikar, taken from the 2008 Lenten reflection booklet. Beatrice is a former member of the Pax Christi USA National Council and a founding member of Pax Christi USA’s anti-racism team. She has served as a board member of the Maryknoll Lay Missioners and Jubilee USA, and as a member of the National Black Catholic Congress’ Social Justice Commission. Beatrice has worked as a pastoral associate, and is a frequent workshop presenter and facilitator.

reflection for HOLY SATURDAY, APRIL 3, 2021

by Beatrice Parwatikar
Pax Christi USA Ambassador of Peace


Genesis 1:1-2:2 | Genesis 22:1-18 | Exodus 14:15-15:1
Isaiah 54:5-14 | Isaiah 55:1-11 | Baruch 3:9-15, 32-4:4
Ezekiel 36:16-17a, 18-28 | Romans 6:3-11 | Mark 16:1-7

A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you. (Ez 36:26)

During the Easter Vigil, we enter the darkened church. Outside the fire is burning. Soon the priest enters the church with the Easter candle and says, “Light of Christ,” and we respond, “Thanks be to God.” Then all the candles in the church are lit from this one candle; we stand together against injustice and violence because Christ brought the light of justice and peace in his living of the Word.

In the readings of the Easter Vigil, we learn about how we are to live. We learn about what justice and peace in our world mean, from our relationship with all of God’s creation to our relationship with other humans, how we are to relate with them and create justice with the voices and bodies of all people…

I hope you can imagine being an African slave and hearing the words from the third reading from Exodus: these were words of hopeful freedom. In contrast, slaveholders and their ministers found passages in the Bible that seemed to say, “be happy with your lot in life.” But the secret church of the slaves in the clearings among the trees talked of how God would hear their cry and give them freedom. They sang, “Go down, Moses, way down in Egypt land. Tell old Pharaoh, ‘Let my people go!’” We must be ready to advocate and work for all people held in any type of bondage. We must sing for all people, “Let my people go!”

…And then the Good News of freedom for all through Christ’s resurrection! Mary Magdalene and the other Mary go to the tomb. While frightened, they stay to hear the message of the angel. The angel knew these women were followers of Jesus and gave them a message to share with the disciples who were not there: “He is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him, as he told you.” … The incredible role these women played is pushed aside in the retelling of the Risen Christ. How many times have women’s roles or names been pushed aside or forgotten in the retelling of stories in important movements? …

As we celebrate the Risen Jesus and his message of freedom and justice for all, we recall our Lenten journey: “You wore repentant ashes. Fasted with discipline to understand those without food. Journeyed through your desert. You walked into the darkness and shared the Light of Resurrection. Now take your light of resurrection to places of darkness.”

Whose stories do you need to pay better attention to?
Whose voices are missing in your life?

Click here to see more resources for prayer, study and action for Holy Week and from throughout the Lenten season.

This reflection appeared in Invited to Transformation: Reflections for Lent 2008, published by Pax Christi USA in 2008.

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