The Sacred Paschal Triduum
After Christmas, Easter and holy week are probably a favorite time of year for most Catholics. And for many the three days, Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday stand out in a special way. These days are known in the church as The Sacred Paschal Triduum, this year falling on April 6, 7 and 8. On these days the church celebrates the Last Supper on Holy Thursday, in which Jesus gave us the Eucharist; the Crucifixion and Death of Christ on Good Friday and his Resurrection from the dead with the first mass of Easter on Holy Saturday night.
But what do the liturgies of the triduum really celebrate? Many people think of these celebrations as some type of recalling or re-enactment of the historical events of the end of Jesus’ life. But these celebrations are not about history but rather about Mystery. The liturgies of these days do not take us back to the upper room or to the garden of Gethsemane or to Calvary or to Easter morning to witness the empty tomb. Our celebrations are not about what once happened to Jesus 20 centuries ago but what is happening in his mystical body the church today. You and I, baptized into Christ and the church, gifted with the Spirit, gather in faith with our brothers and sisters and offer our thanksgiving in and through Christ who is risen and living among us. Through His death and resurrection and sending of His Spirit God has taken possession of our hearts and molds us into the likeness of His son. We are a broken, sinful people who are loved and forgiven and called to holiness and truth. The mass and these special liturgical celebrations are about what Christ is doing today in your life and mine .The sacred paschal triduum shines as the high point of the liturgical year.
Unfortunately many Catholics have seldom or never participated in any of the celebrations of these special days. I invite you to consider taking part in some or all of the celebrations of these days. In addition to the richness of the scripture readings and the special music there are other rich symbols like the washing of feet, presentation of the Holy Oils, Veneration of the Cross and the lighting and blessing of the Easter fire and the paschal candle, Baptism of the Elect, adults who have made the decision to become members of the catholic church. Elsewhere in this bulletin and on our website you will find further information and the schedule for each of these special days. I look forward to seeing you during the Sacred Paschal Triduum or at least for holy mass on Easter Sunday. Happy Easter.