I’m not a patient person and I absolutely hate sitting in the “unknown.”

Before I go to see a movie, I look up how it ends online.

I read the last few pages of a book before I really get into it.

I will cut through a parking lot to avoid a red light.

I get easily frustrated when I need to wait for someone to make a decision, text me back, or reply to me on Twitter. I want answers to questions immediately, I want to know the conclusion before I begin, and I absolutely do not want to wait for any of that.

Holy Saturday is the day of Triduum I need the most. It a day where we wait. It is a day that reminds us that we wait in a tension – we know the end of the story, but the story isn’t over.

We gather for the liturgy in darkness. Put yourself in the shoes of the disciples. Jesus is dead. He was killed as an enemy of Rome, laid in a tomb and guarded by soldiers. Your very life is at risk if you even dared to step outside. You sit in a locked room, the lights dim. You don’t know how the story ends, yet. You wait in a great unknown. Can you imagine the anxiety? The fear?

Yet, in that tomb something was happening. Jesus was being raised – and even in the midst of darkness, light shines. We light candles during the liturgy and as the church fills with light, we remember that Christ’s light shines into the world. And we sing “Glory to God in the highest,” and by the end of Holy Saturday we are looking firmly ahead to Easter Sunday and Resurrection.

But here is the tension.

Holy Saturday is about waiting. It is about the victory Christ won by His death and resurrection, but it is also about the reality that Christ will come again. But not yet. It is about a world that sometimes seems so dark. It is about living with the weight of death, wondering if the light will shine beyond it.

It is about knowing the end of the story, but recognizing that we still have our part to play, and we cannot play that part without the grace of God. This is why we initiate new Christians on Holy Saturday through Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist – it brings them into this tension in a powerful way. It reminds us that we can do all things with Christ, but without Him, we are powerless.

It is about patiently waiting for that moment of resurrection, like the disciples. But unlike the disciples, we know the ending. We know Christ is risen. Now, we wait for the next movement – the moment Christ comes again. We know the ending of that story – we’ve looked to the last pages and read the spoiler. Jesus is coming to wipe away every tear, in justice and in mercy. Holy Saturday is about waiting in that tension, bringing light into a dark world and proclaiming, “Alleluia! He is risen!” as we go out into a world that desperately needs us.

I need Holy Saturday to remind me who wins the battle that I enter into when I walk out those church doors and into the world. I need Holy Saturday to teach me patience, and to remind me that I still have work to do for the Kingdom. But most importantly, I need Holy Saturday to remind me that, even in the face of death, the light of Christ and the resurrection always has the last word. That is something incredible. That is something worth waiting for.

Joel Stepanek
Joel Stepanek


Joel Stepanek has been actively and passionately involved in youth ministry for over 10 years. What began as a simple internship in a parish youth ministry office evolved into an incredible adventure that led him on numerous middle school lock ins, high school retreats, and ultimately to meet his wife, Colleen, who is a campus minister. Joel is the Director of Resource Development for Life Teen International where he creates engaging youth ministry resources for middle and high school students. He received his Master’s degree in religious education with an emphasis in youth and young adult ministry from Fordham University. Joel is an avid Packer fan, loves cooking, running, and spending time with his wife and son, Elijah Daniel.