Daily Reflection
of Creighton University's Online Ministries
April 7th, 2012

Brian Kokensparger

Arts and Sciences
Click here for a photo of and information on this writer.

Easter Vigil
The Easter Vigil Readings

The Easter Vigil Prayers

What is Holy Saturday about?;
Holy Saturday Contemplation;

Preparing for the Easter Vigil
The Easter Proclamation
The Blessing of Water
Renewing our Baptismal Promises


On Holy Saturday, my reflection begins with a special prayer for all of us.  Think fast:  What was the image that crossed your mind when I said “all of us”?  No one will know but you and the Lord, so you might as well be honest.  If you are like most Christians, the image in your mind was probably one depicting a lot of people celebrating Easter Sunday service, or celebrating the Vigil mass, with the candles and the incense and the holy water and the baptisms and maybe even some cake and cookies in the Church basement after Mass.

That’s all well and good, but who are we leaving out of this picture?  Everyone else, that’s who.

So this Holy Saturday, my reflection actually begins with a special prayer for ALL of us.  Everyone in the world.  Because Holy Saturday isn’t just for Christians.  Jesus didn’t die just for Christians.  He died for all of us.  He rose for all of us.

I have a very courageous young woman in my Professional Writing class.  She is courageous because she is a Muslim student in a school that is by mission a “Catholic and Jesuit” comprehensive university.  But she is also courageous because she passionately speaks out for the Muslims at Creighton, but also in the U.S. and throughout the world.  She has never once in my presence failed to stand up and diplomatically argue for the plight of the Muslim people.

So when I say that I pray for all of us on Holy Saturday, I mean this young lady as well.  She is, in every way, a part of “us”.

As I read the first reading, the creation story in Scripture, I am struck by the fact that our creation story is very much similar to the creation story in her Scripture.  In fact, I asked the young lady to write about how she views the creation story in the Qur’an.  She wrote:

“In the name of Allah, the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful”
“Everyday, year round, Muslims around the world start and end their day with the Arabic phrase, “Bismillahi Al-Rahmani Al-Rahimi.” This phrase, which appears in the Qur’an 114 times, is the opening of 113 out of the 114 Aayaat’s (chapters) in the Qur’an. Although simple and short, it expresses the relationship between Muslims and Allah. These words function as a reminder to believers of the existence and power of the Creator in their lives. When spoken, they help us recognize our humanness and our dependence on God. We are called to start all of our actions, from waking up in the morning, to eating, to praying, with this phrase. It serves as a remembrance and an expression of the recurring process through which we discern God in all things and understand life through our faith. By beginning and ending our days “In the name of Allah,” we honor our relationship with our Creator and acknowledge that we are vehicles through which He acts. All of our actions are, therefore, done because of and for Him.”

I could not have said it any more eloquently.  The first reading makes me realize we really are more alike than we are different.  We all want to live good, honest lives, perhaps to raise families and enjoy each other’s company into our golden years.  We all want to enjoy the GOODNESS of our Creator’s bounty together, as it is so beautifully articulated in both of our scriptures.

So that is my prayer.  Somehow, someway, I pray to God that we may all someday be unified to enjoy God’s -- and  Allah’s -- splendor together, as brothers and sisters.

It will take a great amount of courage from all of us.  Once again, my student has become my teacher.  This Easter, let us praise Allah, praise God, praise Yahweh, and praise our Supreme Creator in whatever manifestation or way that Creator may work in our hearts and minds.  For if Holy Saturday is truly holy, it must be, as one of our Creator’s many creations, open to all.

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