The Sacred Triduum
This week we celebrate the Sacred Triduum, the Paschal Mystery, the Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
On Holy Thursday, we celebrate the Mass of the Lord’s Supper. Here we celebrate and remember the institution of two sacraments: the Eucharist and the Priesthood. We remember how Jesus gave us the Eucharist as the memorial of his Death and Resurrection: his Body broken for us; his Blood poured out for us. Here Jesus also gave us the Priesthood and taught them to serve according to his example as he washed the feet of his disciples.
On Good Friday, we recall the Passion and Death of Christ. This is a day of fasting and abstinence for the entire Church. On this day we take time to reflect on the sacrifice Christ made for our salvation on the Cross. Our fasting and voluntary penance is a way of uniting ourselves, our suffering, to that of Christ. Fasting on this day (as well as Ash Wednesday) means reducing the amount of food we eat to one regular meal and two snacks that together add up to one meal. Abstinence refers to refraining from eating meat on this day. It is a small sacrifice we make to commemorate the loving sacrifice of our Lord. It is also recommended, though not mandatory, that we keep the fast also on Holy Saturday until the Easter Vigil to remember Christ in the tomb.
At the Easter Vigil we await the Resurrection of Christ and his definitive victory over sin and death. Christ has Risen! We are saved! The Church calls the Easter Vigil, the mother of all vigils. The seven readings from the Old Testament remind us of God’s work through history leading to the Resurrection. It is at this celebration that we resume singing the “Alleluia” thus expressing our joy over Christ’s triumph.