Saturday, April 3, 2010

Holy Saturday: "For thou dost not give me up to Sheol"

[1] Preserve me, O God, for in thee I take refuge.
[2] I say to the LORD, "Thou art my Lord;
I have no good apart from thee."
[3] As for the saints in the land, they are the noble,
in whom is all my delight.
[4] Those who choose another god multiply their sorrows;
their libations of blood I will not pour out
or take their names upon my lips.
[5] The LORD is my chosen portion and my cup;
thou holdest my lot.
[6] The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
yea, I have a goodly heritage.
[7] I bless the LORD who gives me counsel;
in the night also my heart instructs me.
[8] I keep the LORD always before me;
because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.
[9] Therefore my heart is glad, and my soul rejoices;
my body also dwells secure.
[10] For thou dost not give me up to Sheol,
or let thy godly one see the Pit.
[11] Thou dost show me the path of life;
in thy presence there is fulness of joy,
in thy right hand are pleasures for evermore.
-- Psalm 16

Christ's death was a real death in that it put an end to his earthly human existence. But because of the union which the person of the Son retained with his body, his was not a mortal corpse like others, for "it was not possible for death to hold him" and therefore "divine power preserved Christ's body from corruption." Both of these statements can be said of Christ: "He was cut off out of the land of the living", and "My flesh will dwell in hope. For you will not abandon my soul to Hades, nor let your Holy One see corruption." Jesus' Resurrection "on the third day" was the sign of this, also because bodily decay was held to begin on the fourth day after death.
-- CCC 627

Sculpture: Veiled Christ, Naples, Italy.

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