I’ll never forget the line that one of our former associate pastors, Fr. Chris Downey, said during his Holy Thursday homily back when I was a student. He said, “THIS IS WHAT IT MEANS TO BE CATHOLIC!” And I put it in all caps because he yelled it from the pulpit! He was talking about the importance of the Triduum, the sacred three days of Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday/Easter, and what they mean to us as Catholics.
The celebration of the Triduum is the culmination of the whole liturgical calendar. What Sunday is to the week, the solemnity of Easter is to the entire liturgical year. It is one of things that defines us as Catholics just as Jews are defined by their celebration of Passover. How much does the Triduum define us? Every mass you go to is a microcosm of Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday. Because each mass, we are invited to relive and make present the Paschal Mystery.
What is the Paschal Mystery? “The Paschal Mystery has two aspects: by his death, Christ liberates us from sin; by his Resurrection, he opens for us the way to a new life. This new life is above all justification that reinstates us to God’s grace, ‘so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life’” (CCC 654). We are saved by the Paschal Mystery, the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus. To participate in the Triduum is to participate in the Paschal Mystery is to be saved. The Triduum invites us to walk with Jesus in real time: “In the liturgical celebration of these events, they become in a certain way present and real” (CCC 1363). The Triduum brings you to the Last Supper, makes you pray with Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, allows you to walk the steps of the Stations of the Cross, and brings you to the tomb on Easter Sunday morning. These experiences are NOT OPTIONAL for us as Catholics. These events and experiences are what save us.
We MUST encounter Jesus in the same way the apostles did. We MUST have that same intimate and real relationship. THAT IS WHAT BEING CATHOLIC IS ALL ABOUT! If you don’t have that kind of relationship with Jesus, the Triduum is a good place to start because nothing is more intimate than the Triduum. Participate in as many of the liturgies as you can and allow Jesus to be present to you in a new way.
If you will be in College Station for Easter, you are invited to attend our Triduum Retreat. We will take an in-depth look at the liturgies, prayers, and traditions of the Triduum and what it teaches us as Catholics according to the Church ancient maxim of lex orandi, lex credendi (“the way we pray is the way we believe”). For more information about the schedule and to register for the retreat, visit www.aggiecatholic.org/triduum-retreat.
You can find our Mass times for this week here.