Approaching the Paschal Triduum, I want to share the power and meaning of this three-day period in the liturgical calendar. It commemorates the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, inviting us to renew our commitment to faith. This time of intense prayer and reflection starts with Holy Thursday’s evening Mass. It culminates in the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday, making it the most significant period of the year for Catholics to deepen their connection with Christ.
Holy Thursday, or Maundy Thursday, commemorates the Last Supper of Jesus with his apostles. During the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, the Church remembers Christ’s institution of the Eucharist and the priesthood, as well as his washing of the apostles’ feet as an example of loving service. This is a powerful reminder of the importance of service and humility in our lives. The end of the mass is usually solemn- an imitation of Christ and apostles as they left the upper room to go to the Garden of Gethsemane where Peter, James, and John were to keep watch.
Behold the wood of the cross
Good Friday is a solemn day of mourning and reflection, marking the day of Jesus’ crucifixion and death. Good Friday liturgical celebrations are not considered a Mass as the Eucharist Sacrifice is prohibited during this time. The Church conducts the Service of the Lord’s Passion, which includes the reading of the Passion narrative, veneration of the cross, and distribution of Communion using previously consecrated hosts. Sculptures and artworks are shrouded as the entire emphasis is placed on the Lord’s crucifixion This is a time to reflect on the magnitude of Christ’s sacrifice and to remember the power of forgiveness and redemption.
Christ is risen
Holy Saturday is a day of waiting and anticipation for the resurrection of Christ. The Easter Vigil begins after sundown Saturday and includes the blessing of the new fire, the lighting of the Paschal candle, the singing of the Exsultet, and the celebration of Baptism and Confirmation. This is the most significant liturgy of the year, as it marks the moment of Christ’s resurrection and the triumph of life over death.
We have a unique opportunity during the Paschal Triduum to fully immerse ourselves in the liturgies, enter into the mystery of Christ’s passion, and emerge with a renewed sense of purpose and faith. Here are some ideas of how you can participate more fully:
– Receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation at least once during lent
– Attend the Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord’s Supper, where the priest will wash the feet of parishioners, just as Jesus washed the feet of his disciples.
– Participate in Eucharistic adoration on Holy Thursday night, where the Blessed Sacrament is exposed for prayer and meditation.
– Attend the Service of the Lord’s Passion on Good Friday, where you can venerate the cross and reflect on the sacrifice of Christ.
– Fast and abstain from meat on Good Friday, as a sign of penance and solidarity with Christ’s suffering.
– Pray the Stations of the Cross on Good Friday, either alone or as a group, to reflect on Christ’s journey to Calvary.
– Participate in the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday, which is the most important liturgy of the year.
– Renew baptismal promises during the Easter Vigil, as a way of affirming your commitment to living a life of faith.
– Attend Easter Sunday Mass, where we celebrate the Resurrection of Christ and the triumph of life over death.
– Share a festive meal with family and friends on Easter Sunday, as a way of celebrating the joy of the Resurrection.
The Paschal Triduum serves as a reminder of the central mystery of the Catholic faith, the Paschal Mystery- the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, through which he redeemed the world from sin and death. The Triduum invites us to immerse ourselves in the story of salvation, to reflect on the magnitude of Christ’s sacrifice, and to renew our commitment to living a life of faith.