Holy Saturday – Sister Esther Adama, SNDdeN

Mar 27, 2024 | Gospel Reflections

March 30, 2024

Mark 16: 1-7

The Catholic Church in her wisdom through the liturgical year, brings the whole world to reflect actively and consciously on the Easter Triduum.My reflection on the gospel of the Easter Vigil Mass, will begin by looking at the origin of the Easter Vigil and then linking it to the message/s that I think God wants us to consider and take home during this season of Easter.

Holy Saturday is a day of quiet, observed by the earliest disciples in sadness and perplexity following Jesus’ shameful death. While the World is quiet, and Life is in the tomb, people who had hoped in him face a severe test; they feel like hopeless orphans, scattered sheep without a shepherd.

The Easter Vigil being referred to “Mother of all vigils,” comes from St. Augustine’s Sermon 209, which is quite old, given that the saint died in 430. In other words, the custom and support for the Easter Vigil has a long history in the Church.

During the Easter Vigil, or Paschal Vigil,we celebrate who we are in Jesus Christ, therefore the great vigil spans the entire year, just as Sunday is to the week. It is the night we find and renew our own identity in Christ as we celebrate with the catechumen joining the Church through the reception of the sacraments of initiation and also our own renewal through the sacraments is brought to light. In this night’s liturgy, we celebrate and re-enact, made alive and active in our time what took place on the first Easter vigil and contemplate how the traditional Christian churches mark the first official celebration of Jesus’ resurrection from the death.

Prior to the great vigil, the crosses and images in the Catholic Church were already covered to intensify the senses of all Christians in anticipation for the Lord’s day of resurrection. Walking into the church and seeing all the images covered, communicate to all believers that something serious is happening. The beauty and ambiance we are familiar with is covered because Christ is in the tomb and with this gesture, we are invited to pay deeper and greater attention to the mood of the day and internalize in a more deeper and reflective way, the purpose for which Christ came into the world and how he also invites us to take after Him in a practical and not passive ways.

In the gospel of Mark 16:1-7, we could experience the tension, anxiety, confusion fear, expectation experienced by the women who were keeping vigil on that first Easter Vigil. The women kept vigil for the One they loved, while the other male disciples were afraid and locked themselves up in a room, these great and courageous women never slept, but were keeping watch in prayer and in trustful anticipation, suffering and pain not knowing what will happen. Regardless of their experience, they moved beyond the circumstance they found themselves in and proceeded straight to the grave. Behold Jesus had risen as he said. I could feel, hear and imagined that the sound of the first Alleluia ever said after Christ’s resurrection, may have burst out of the lips of these great women.

The Blessed Virgin Mary showed Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Salome what it means to wait in expectation even when they realize that the road is not clear, they only needed to wait for the sun to reappear as St. Julie would say to her Sisters. These women exemplified and represented the faces of women across the world who are living in fears, suffering and waiting for when things will get better.

For instance, there are women and children held hostage due to the wars in Ukraine, Russia, Sudan, Palestine, Gaza to mention but afew. The several kidnapping, human trafficking, killing in Nigeria and Kenya, the brain drain saga, increase in the inflow of immigrants to other countries due to political, social and economic degradation resulting to starvation, unemployment, ecological problems happening across the world, have affected so many and leaving them in a state of endless waiting to see if their loved ones would be released or return one day and perhaps change will come for the good someday. But still have to wait painfully for the sun reappear.
It is amidst these circumstances and situations that the message of the resurrection calls us to be hopeful and prayerful that things will get better. For though things may appear ugly and discouraging right now, though darkness is looming, and evil seems to take the wining part, but the joy which the risen Christ will bring at Easter will be everlasting.In other words, the symbol of a suffering saviour on the Cross can assist by signaling that the mystery of God is here in solidarity with those who suffer. In the midst of the isolation of suffering the presence of divine compassion as our companion on the road of pain, transforms our sufferings, not justifying its evil but bringing an incomprehensible consolation and comfort to all who believe in the Risen Christ.

Finally, like the women in the gospel reading let us continue to be the evangelizers and heralds of the good news of the resurrection wherever we are. Listening daily to the invitation of Christ to love everyone, be hopeful, walk and work together in the spirit of sharing as a synodal church to spread the message of faith, love, hope and peace. Let us allow the light of Christ in us shine daily as we rejoice in our liberation through His death and resurrection.
Peace be with you all.

 

Mark 16: 1-7

When the sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary, the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go and anoint him. Very early when the sun had risen, on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb. They were saying to one another, “Who will roll back the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?” When they looked up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back; it was very large.

On entering the tomb they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a white robe, and they were utterly amazed. He said to them, “Do not be amazed! You seek Jesus of Nazareth, the crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Behold the place where they laid him. But go and tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him, as he told you.'”

The Gospel of the Lord

 

Meet Sister Esther Adama, SNDdeN

Esther Jumai Adama comes from Odagbo in Ankpa L. G. A. of Kogi State in Nigeria. She was born on the 27th March, 1970 to the family of the late Mr. AdamaAmeloke and Mrs. Alice Adi Adama, both from the same Local Government Area. She is the second child in a family of ten children. Esther had her primary education at Ja’faru Estate Primary School Kabala-Doki in Kaduna State. The last part of her secondary education was at the Government Girls’ Secondary School in Bida, Niger State. Her desire and inspiration to become a religious started as far back as 1988. This burning desire prompted her to embark on teaching catechism to children both in the main parish and the out-stations of St. Benedict’s Catholic Church in Kagara, Niger State. The parish priest, Fr. Oliver O’Reilly, inquired about her future ambitions. She said that she would love to work for God through service to the poor, as a Sister. When her parents learned about her desire, they were not pleased. In response to God’s call, she joined the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur on January 7th 1995. After her postulancy and Novitiate program, Sr. Esther made her first profession on November 15,1997 in Kulende, Ilorin, Kwara State, Nigeria. Her first mission was to Uzairue, Edo State to teach at St. Philip’s N/P school. In 1998, she gained admission to the Federal College of Education, Kontagora and graduated with her N.C.E qualification in 2001. Then, she was missioned to practice her field at St. Peter’s N/P school Ndeabor, Enugu State. On June 4, 2002, Sr. Esther was sent to the United States to study in a theological and formation programme at the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, IL. On her return to Nigeria, she worked as Assistant Novice Directress for about two years in Ilorin, Kwara State. Later, she went for her Tertianship in preparation for final vows which she made on September 17, 2005.in October same year she was appointed to be the directress of Postulants in Nigerian, a position she held for six years after which she proceeded to study theology at the Catholic University of Eastern Africa in 2012 to 2016. Upon her return she taught theological curses in both postulate and Novitiate in Nigerian for one year. In 2020, Sr. Esther accepted a mission call to Kenya where she currently works as Postulant Directress and coordinator of Sisters in Initial commitment at the Sisters of Notre Dame in Kenya. With openness and generosity, Sr. Esther says that the journey so far has not been easy, but it has been inspiring, interesting, enriching, transforming and challenging. She comes from a typical Muslim background where embracing religious life is regarded as counter cultural. Amidst the current situation in Nigeria, she added, the witnessing to the gospel values remains very important. She attributes all to the good God for his love, compassion and companion on the journey and prays that our God who began this work in her will bring it to perfection.