To me, Holy Saturday is a flickering candle. The women who stood at the foot of the cross and witnessed Jesus’ death went home with heavy hearts. Yet, as is traditional, they lit the Shabbat candles. I imagine the women watching the flickering of the candle well into the night on Friday and throughout the morning of Holy Saturday. Through the chaos of darkness in their minds and hearts, in my imagination, the candle does not burn out.
That flickering candle is our experience of God’s light here at the border. It is the warmth that Luis experienced when he was lost and alone in the desert on a cold January night. The gift of God’s warmth reminded him of God’s love, which sustains him in his impossible circumstances. It is the light that Rosario clung to as she endured 20 years of severe domestic violence and, upon fleeing, found herself in an unfamiliar border city where her children are still terrified. It is the flicker in the eyes of a family of 6 from Cuernavaca who stayed in the Kino Border Initiative shelter this February. The children are all high school-aged and dream of restarting their studies if and when they get to a safe place, although it’s hard for them to see how they might ever get to safety.
We experience Holy Saturday as a lead up to the Resurrection, but the women who witnessed Jesus’ death didn’t know what was to come. All they could do was cling to the flicker of light that they could see and hope that it might grow into a fire.
- What flickers of candlelight do you cling to?
Joanna Williams has served at the Kino Border Initiative (KBI) since 2015. She was named the executive director in March of 2021 and before that worked as the director of education and advocacy for six years. She graduated with a B.S. from the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University and received a Master’s in Public Policy from Arizona State University.