The Paschal Triduum refers to the most important celebration in the year for Christians, the Passion and Resurrection of the Lord. The Paschal Triduum begins with the celebration of the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday and concludes on Easter Sunday. In American culture the most important day of the year is probably Christmas, or maybe the Super Bowl, but for Christians it’s even Christmas is only the second most important day, after the Paschal Triduum.
We consider the Paschal Triduum to be one, continuous celebration, even though it takes place over 3 days, because the three events have to be seen together to make sense. The Resurrection couldn’t happen without the Crucifixion, and the Crucifixion doesn’t make sense apart from the Last Supper. The Last Supper shows us that Jesus is laying down His own life, not being forced to do it, because in the Last Supper He’s already offered His Body and Blood. The Last Supper shows us that the Crucifixion isn’t merely a martyrdom and the execution of a good man but a sacrifice for the salvation of the world. In the Last Supper Jesus teaches us that we can enter into His Crucifixion through the Eucharist.
On Good Friday we pause and take the time to really reflect on the Cross and what it means for us. How often do we really take the time to think about what Jesus did for us, what we put Him through, and why He did it? Good Friday is a day to think about how awesome God’s love is and that we are called to rest in His love, and to return it with all of our minds, all of our souls, all of our hearts, and all of our strength.
On Holy Saturday we spend the day in the tomb with Jesus, or in the Upper Room with the disciples and the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is a day of quiet, of contemplation, and of sorrow. There’s not a lot going on on Holy Saturday, unlike Good Friday which has the Solemn Service, the Stations of the Cross, the 9 Churches Walk, and other traditions. Holy Saturday begins with Morning Prayer in the Church at 8:00 AM, I’ll be available for Confession from 3-4:00 PM, and then we’ll have the Easter Vigil at 8:00 PM.
Finally, after spending Thursday night with Jesus keeping watch during the agony in the Garden, and Friday night with Jesus in the tomb, on Saturday night/Sunday morning is the glory of the Resurrection, filled with awe, joy, and renewed faith.
Fr. Bryan was pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes from July 3, 2017 to June 2022.