|THE EASTER TRIDUUM|
Lent exists so that we can prepare ourselves for the Easter Triduum. Triduum comes from a Latin word meaning “three days.” The three-day observance begins with the Mass of the Lord’s Supper in the evening of Holy Thursday, reaches its high point in the Easter Vigil and ends with evening prayers on Easter Sunday. One twenty-four hour is just not enough time to truly experience and celebrate this tremendous mystery.
The solemn liturgies of the Triduum are the most important liturgies of the Church year. These liturgies teach us the meaning of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection. The richness of the symbols and rituals help us to experience the mysteries of Jesus’ final hours, His passion, suffering and His rising from the dead. In a special way, during these three days, we come together as the people of God to remember the saving act of Jesus, the miracle of His resurrection – and to celebrate our faith and identity as Christians.
Because Christ was willing to die for our sins and was raised from the dead, death is no longer the end of life for us. It is the beginning of a NEW LIFE in Him. How can we pay close attention - so that we can enter deeply into these mysteries?
The Church suggests that we fast, especially on Good Friday and, if possible, Holy Saturday, too. Why fast? The purpose of the fasting is to gain awareness into the mysteries of the Triduum.
Fasting from food – and sin -- and increasing our acts of love, we stand at the foot of the cross on Good Friday – and think about Jesus dying for all of us.
What greater love? “Jesus, you love me so much, you died for me.” Fasting helps us to become aware of our hunger for Jesus - and our desire to be like Him. It causes us to eagerly desire to receive our Easter Eucharist.
The Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper, which includes the washing of feet, is the ONLY Mass celebrated on Holy Thursday. We watch as Jesus shares His last Passover meal with His friends. We hear Jesus giving us the Sacrament of the Eucharist. He tells us, “Do this in remembrance of me.” The washing of the feet is a sign and symbol of the service we are called to live.
The Mass of the Lord’s Supper ends in silence without a closing procession, because our celebration has not ended. We ALL are invited to spend some time with Jesus, to “keep watch” with Christ, in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, as we prepare for Good Friday.
It is a day of quiet fasting and mourning. It includes: the reading of the Passion of Jesus. We stand as the Passion is proclaimed. We listen and remember again how Jesus suffered and died for our sins. Then, we participate in the Adoration of the Cross.
The Cross is the means of our salvation. We come forward; we bow before it, kiss it, touch it, or stand in front of it and say a short prayer.
It is the high point of the Easter Triduum celebrating the Passion and Resurrection of Jesus.
It includes: blessing the new fire, Lighting of the paschal candle, singing Alleluias, The Easter Proclamation, and Initiation of Catechumens.
These “Three Days” remind us of death and rebirth. They are the holiest and most important days of celebration in the Catholic Church! During these three days, we focus on one event – the Passover of the Lord - our Easter.