Tenebrae for Holy Saturday
March 30, 2024
Fr. John Colacino C.PP.S.


Psalm 4

When I call, answer me, O God of justice; *
from anguish you released me, have mercy and hear me!

O men, how long will your hearts be closed, *
will you love what is futile and seek what is false?

It is the Lord who grants favors to those whom he loves; *
the Lord hears me whenever I call him.

Fear him; do not sin: ponder on your bed and be still. *
Make justice your sacrifice and trust in the Lord.

“What can bring us happiness?” many say. *
Let the light of your face shine on us, O Lord.

You have put into my heart a greater joy *
than they have from abundance of corn and new wine.

I will lie down in peace and sleep comes at once *
for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.

Psalm 16

Preserve me, God, I take refuge in you.
I say to the Lord: “You are my God. *
My happiness lies in you alone.”

He has put into my heart a marvelous love *
for the faithful ones who dwell in his land.
Those who choose other gods increase their sorrows.
Never will I offer their offerings of blood. *
Never will I take their name upon my lips.

O Lord, it is you who are my portion and cup; *
it is you yourself who are my prize.
The lot marked out for me is my delight: *
welcome indeed the heritage that falls to me!

I will bless the Lord, who gives me counsel, *
who even at night directs my heart.
I keep the Lord, ever in my sight; *
since he is at my right hand, I shall stand firm.

And so my heart rejoices, my soul is glad; *
even my body shall rest in safety.
For you will not leave my soul among the dead, *
nor let your beloved know decay.

You will show me the path of life,
the fullness of joy in your presence, *
at your right hand happiness for ever.

Psalm 24

The Lord’s is the earth and its fullness, *
the world and all its peoples.
It is he who set it on the seas; *
on the waters he made it firm.

Who shall climb the mountain of the Lord? *
Who shall stand in his holy place?
The man with clean hands and pure heart,
who desires not worthless things, *
who has not sworn so as to deceive his neighbor.

He shall receive blessings from the Lord *
and reward from the God who saves him.
Such are the men who seek him, *
seek the face of the God of Jacob.

O gates, lift high your heads;
grow higher, ancient doors.*
Let him enter, the king of glory!

Who is the king of glory?
The Lord, the mighty, the valiant, *
the Lord, the valiant in war.

O gates, lift high your heads;
grow higher, ancient doors. *
Let him enter, the king of glory!

Who is he, the king of glory?
He, the Lord of armies, *
he is the king of glory.


Our Shepherd is departed, the fount of living water,
At whose passing the sun was darkened,
For even he was made captive who was holding captive the first man.
Today the gates of death and their bars as well our Savior has destroyed.
V/. Indeed He has destroyed the strongholds of the underworld
And he has overthrown the powers of the devil.

FIRST READING (Hebrews 4:1-13)

Let’s fear lest perhaps anyone of you should seem to have come short of a promise of entering into his rest. For indeed we have had good news preached to us, even as they also did, but the word they heard didn’t profit them, because it wasn’t mixed with faith by those who heard. For we who have believed do enter into that rest, even as he has said, “As I swore in my wrath, they will not enter into my rest;” although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. For he has said this somewhere about the seventh day, “God rested on the seventh day from all his works;” and in this place again, “They will not enter into my rest.”

Seeing therefore it remains that some should enter into it, and they to whom the good news was preached before failed to enter in because of disobedience, he again defines a certain day, today, saying through David so long a time afterward (just as has been said),

“Today if you will hear his voice,
    don’t harden your hearts.”

For if Joshua had given them rest, he would not have spoken afterward of another day. There remains therefore a Sabbath rest for the people of God. For he who has entered into his rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from his. Let’s therefore give diligence to enter into that rest, lest anyone fall after the same example of disobedience. For the word of God is living and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and is able to discern the thoughts and intentions of the heart. There is no creature that is hidden from his sight, but all things are naked and laid open before the eyes of him to whom we must give an account.



O all ye that pass by the way,
attend and see if there be any sorrow like to my sorrow.

V/. O all ye that pass by the way, attend and see:

If there be any sorrow like to my sorrow.

V. Attend, all ye people, and see my sorrow.

SECOND READING (From a homily by St Augustine)

Today, my dearest friends, there is every reason for heaven to rejoice and earth to be glad. It is a day on which more light shines forth from the tomb than rays from the sun. When our Lord and Savior was born as one of us he brought light into the world; so also today, being dead in the body, he has illumined the underworld with the powerful presence of his divinity as well as of his human soul. Today at the Lord’s visitation there is leaping and dancing in the nether regions over the fulfillment of the prophecy: The people that sat in darkness(that is to say the whole human race enveloped in the gloom of Sheol) has seen a great light. He who created Adam has this day sought him out in the underworld, and by his own power has set him free.

Wonderful beyond words is the loving kindness of our God! Death had indeed invaded Paradise, but life has now conquered the abyss, and by assuming our mortality the Son of God has trodden underfoot the law that all must die. Thus he has made good the prophet’s assertion: O death, I will be your death! Those whom you have caused to die through sin I will gather up from that place of eternal ruin, and by dying myself I will deliver them from everlasting death.

Look now at the author of our undoing! With what snares he is entangled and fettered! As he deceived us, so he is himself deceived; in the very act of killing he is destroyed.

When the Lord’s body was laid in the tomb, he himself descended into the lowest and most hidden abode of the infernal regions. There, where he was presumed to be held captive, he bound death fast, and so broke the chains of all who had died. And from that place whence none had ever returned before, not even alone, he carried off an immense with which he penetrated the heavens.

See what tremendous things God’s surpassing love has accomplished for our healing and restoration! For our sake he was led like a sheep to the slaughter, having taken upon himself the evils of this present life in order to bestow upon us the good things of eternity.



Behold how the righteous man dies
And no one understands.
Righteous men are taken away
And no one considers:
The righteous man has been taken away from present iniquity
And his memory shall be in peace.
As a sheep before her shearers is dumb,
so he opened not his mouth:
he was taken from prison and from judgement.
And his memory shall be in peace.


All-powerful and ever-living God,
your only Son went down among the dead
and rose again in glory.
In your goodness
raise up your faithful people,
buried with him in baptism,
to be one with him
in the everlasting life of heaven,
where he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
God, for ever and ever.  Amen.