Holy Saturday © Jan L. Richardson
There must therefore be no mitigation of the awfulness of death either in Jesus’ case or our own. As von Balthasar puts it:
It [death] is a happening which affects the whole person, though not necessarily to the point of obliterating the human subject altogether. It is a situation which signifies in the first place the abandonment of all spontaneous activity and so a passivity, a state in which, perhaps, the vital activity now brought to an end is mysteriously summed up.
Death is the collapse of all relationships into unresponsiveness. Those who are dead can neither speak nor be spoken to, they can neither receive love nor return it, they can neither initiate nor participate in all the activities and concerns in which our relationships are expressed and by which they are nourished. “I have lost my husband”, says the widow, and exactly that is the source of her grief. All that makes up life is lost to the dead and they are lost to it.
And so it is with Jesus, as his body is lowered from the cross and carried to Joseph of Arimathea’s dark garden tomb. No more parables, no more healing, no more praying to his Father; he has offered everything and he has nothing more. It looks as if all the hopes he roused are now reduced to mocking illusions, his promises become retreating echoes fading into nothingness: The Son of God is dead.
Thanks Jason Goroncy