“The Lord will fight for you, and you will keep silent.” — Holy Saturday Vesperal Liturgy

This homily was given by Fr. Matthew Howell during the Vesperal Divine Liturgy for Holy Saturday. He explains that when we feel broken, wounded, hopeless, helpless and stuck, that we must turn to Christ who can do for us those things which we cannot do for ourselves, such as rescue us from Hades and free us from the slavery to sin and the fear of death. He harps on the verse from Exodus 14:14 “The Lord will fight for you, and you will keep silent.” He also draws on other examples from the fifteen Old Testament readings to explain the depth of faith and trust we need to have in God so that we can be united to Him in His love and joy and life for all eternity.

Fr. Matthew Howell’s previous homilies for Holy Saturday:

The Old Testament Readings done before this homily included:

  1. Genesis 1:1-13
  2. Isaiah 60:1-16
  3. Exodus 12:1-12
  4. Jonah 1:1-4:11
  5. Joshua 5:10-15
  6. Exodus 13:20-15:19
  7. Zephaniah 3:8-15
  8. 3 Kingdoms 17:8-24
  9. Isaiah 61:10b-62:5
  10. Genesis 22:1-18
  11. Isaiah 61:1-10a
  12. 4 Kingdoms 4:8-37
  13. Isaiah 63:11-64:5
  14. Jeremiah 38:31-34
  15. Daniel 3:1-88

Romans 6:3-11

Brethren, all who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death. We were buried therefore with Him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with Him in a death like His, we shall certainly be united with Him in a resurrection like His. We know that our old self was crucified with Him so that the sinful body might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin. For he who has died is freed from sin. But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him. For we know that Christ being raised from the dead will never die again; death no longer has dominion over Him. The death He died He died to sin, once for all, but the life He lives He lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Matthew 28:1-20

After the sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the sepulcher. And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone, and sat upon it. His appearance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow. And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. Lo, I have told you.” So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. And behold, Jesus met them and said, “Hail!” And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see me. While they were going, behold, some of the guard went into the city and told the chief priests all that had taken place. And when they had assembled with the elders and taken counsel, they gave a sum of money to the soldiers and said, “Tell people, ‘His disciples came by night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ And if this comes to the governor’s ears, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” So they took the money and did as they were directed; and this story has been spread among the Jews to this day. Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age. Amen.