Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
We begin the solemn Holy Week this Palm Sunday. On this day we remember Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem, cheered by the crowds who in a few days will later shout for His crucifixion. Then we celebrate the Paschal Triduum (Latin for three days) beginning with the Mass of the Lord’s Supper (Holy Thursday), flowing into Good Friday, and concluding with the Easter Vigil on Saturday night.
Day One: “The Son of Man must suffer greatly…”
During the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday we wash feet. This reminds us that Jesus freely chose to serve others performing this simple, humble action. It of course points towards that greatest giving of Himself, His death on the cross. He left us the precious gift of His own Body and Blood in the Eucharist as a constant reminder.
Day Two: “…and be killed…”
The death of Christ on the cross was real. Death is so final and touches all of us. Jesus gave Himself willingly to death on the cross to complete His embrace of our human condition. We tell the story of Christ’s passion and death. We venerate the cross. We receive Communion. Good Friday is simple and stark and intense.
Day Three: “…and on the third day be raised” Luke 9:22
The great Easter Vigil on Saturday night retells the magnificent stories of God’s presence in our world: from creation to the Exodus to the Resurrection to His presence in our lives this day. The Resurrection of the Lord is celebrated as the high point of the liturgical year and the pattern for Sunday Mass throughout the year. We renew our baptismal promises on Easter Sunday. This reminds us that in our dying with Christ through baptism, we also rise with Him in His resurrection.
These three days are the most beautiful of our church’s liturgies. I invite all parishioners to partake in them and let your spirits be lifted up in ways beyond your imagining. After the solemn service on Holy Thursday evening, we have veneration of the Blessed Sacrament until midnight. This is such a quiet and peaceful time. The Blessed Sacrament will be reserved by the shrine of Our Mother of Perpetual Help. Come spend some quiet time with the Lord.
May we all have a prayerful Holy Week and journey deeper with Jesus in His love for us!
Prayerfully, Fr. Pat, CSSR