Signs at the Death of Jesus

The post-death narrative in this weekend’s Passion struck me as a bit jarring. Did you hear it?

And behold, the veil of the sanctuary
was torn in two from top to bottom.
The earth quaked, rocks were split, tombs were opened,
and the bodies of many saints who had fallen asleep were raised.
And coming forth from their tombs after his resurrection,
they entered the holy city and appeared to many.

Scripture scholars suggest these were signs of the coming Reign of God. First, that God now dwells among his people, not behind a veil. The implication is that our relationship with God exists on a deeper, more intimate level.

Earth, rocks, and tombs are broken. I was thinking of Jesus’ saying in Luke’s Gospel we heard last year on Palm Sunday, that the very stones would cry out in praise of him if the people were restrained. We know inanimate rock doesn’t have a voice like people do, but if they tried to speak, they certainly would break apart in their imitation of a mouth.

And lastly, those saints (pre-Christian, if we take it literally) usher in the new way of Christ Triumphant: death has been set aside for “saints.” We now live in a new era, in which the faithful follow Christ into the Father’s glory. What did you hear this past Sunday at Mass in the Passion?

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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