The Easter Triduum: Entering Into the Heart of Our Faith
Today begins the holiest and most important time of the Church year — the Easter Triduum. It commemorates the heart of our faith: the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Sacred Triduum begins with Holy Thursday, which marks the end of the forty days of Lent and the beginning of the three-day celebration of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ – Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Vigil/Easter Sunday.
The Triduum liturgies teach us the meaning of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection. The richness of the rituals and symbols 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 God’s people to remember the saving act of Jesus, the miracle of His resurrection – and to celebrate our faith and identity as Catholics. 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 enter deeply into these mysteries?
We have spent the past six weeks of Lent preparing to celebrate this great feast of all feasts. We have reflected on our personal failures to follow Christ in our thoughts, our words and our deeds. We have tried to make amends for the harm we have done by our actions and by our inaction. We have demonstrated our love for him and our neighbor by giving alms and by performing spiritual and corporal works of mercy. We have received the sacrament of Reconciliation and have received God’s forgiveness and mercy which has filled our hearts with peace and joy. Now, we continue to pray and 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 reflect on the Passion of Christ. Jesus died for each of us. What greater love is there than this? Fasting helps us to become acutely aware of the hunger we have for Jesus – our desire to be like Him and our need for spiritual nourishment in order to do so. It causes us to eagerly desire to receive His body and his blood in the Holy Eucharist.
“Consider now attentively the three holy days of the crucifixion, burial and resurrection of the Lord. From these three mysteries we realize in the present life that of which the cross is symbol, while we realize through faith and hope, that of which the burial and resurrection is symbol.”
— St. Augustine (Letter 55,14,24).
“Dear brothers and sisters, in these days of the Holy Triduum, let us not limit ourselves to commemorating the Lord’s Passion, but let us enter in the mystery, let us make his sentiments our own, his attitudes, as the Apostle Paul invites us to do: ‘Have this mind among yourselves, which was in Christ Jesus’ (Philippians 2:5). Then ours will be a ‘good Easter.'”
— Pope Francis