Mercy Riders

Pushing pedals, pushing hope

Holy Saturday, a day of waiting

Yesterday, I rode 55 miles, 35 by myself, and then another 20 with a close friend and members of our Indiana American Diabetes Association TourdeCure team, in a casual ride, as part of the Marian Midwest Cycling Classic bicycle race.  It seemed the right thing to do on a long-awaited relatively warm day, the Good Friday and Easter “in-between day.” That evening I sang with the St. Matthew choir for the East Vigil Mass. Our pastor, Father Paul Shikany, gave a homily that put a great perspective on Holy Saturday as a day of waiting. Waiting for many things, both personally and for things important to those around us.

I went riding this day as part of the “waiting” period — the training period we have left leading to our Mercy Ride. Many people are “waiting” for the opportunity to have ordinary shelter as part of their everyday lives, an opportunity Mercy Housing seeks to provide.

Father Paul’s homily was based on a thoughtful commentary by a Jesuit Father James Martin on Holy Saturday:

“Most of our lives are spent in Holy Saturday. In other words, most of our days are not filled with the unbearable pain of a Good Friday. Nor are they suffused with the unbelievable joy of an Easter. Some days are indeed times of great pain and some are of great joy, but most are…in between.

Most of our days are, in fact, times of waiting, as the disciples waited during Holy Saturday. We’re waiting. Waiting to get into a good school. Waiting to meet the right person. Waiting to get pregnant. Waiting to get a job. Waiting for diagnosis from the doctor. Waiting for things at work to improve. Waiting for the results of our physical therapy to help us feel better. Waiting for that relationship to improve. Waiting for life just to get…better…

…there is the wait of passivity, as if everything were up to “fate.” In this waiting there is no despair, but not much anticipation of anything good either. It’s the wait of “Whatever.” This is also not the waiting what we are called to.We are called to the wait of the Christian, which is called hope. It is an active waiting; it knows that, even in the worst of situations, even in the darkest times, God is powerfully at work. Even if we can’t see it clearly right now…”

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Father Martin is the author of “Between Heaven and Mirth” ( a book my daughter bought me for Christmas) and is also the “Official Chaplain to the Colbert Nation.” His book describes the lives of the saints and the humor and joy that are implicit in living a life of true faith, powered by hope.

I close with an Easter wish and prayer: For family, friends, and our brothers and sisters in need, may we each serve as a beacon of hope in the times of waiting.  And may hope’s fulfillment of the Lenten wait, the joy of Easter, be with us always.