I love the Pascal Triduum (“three days” that are actually four days: Holy Thursday; Good Friday; Holy Saturday; and Easter Sunday) for many reasons. Of course, for Catholics, it is the holiest time of the liturgical year, when the ceremonies last long into the night, and special choirs and processions make their marks. This is really beautiful stuff. But it’s not only the ceremonies and celebrations that attract me. Rather, it’s some of the abrupt changes in my schedule and routines that I have come to appreciate. As a priest, this is expected; we need to be present at all the special ceremonies (on time!). But also, we priests need to be connected to the ‘ecclesial feeling’ that one should not be doing much else very distant from the holy Triduum. For example, Good Friday is not a good night for a popular comedy movie or maybe even watching a sporting event. It’s simply not a night for laughing and yelling, because the laughing and yelling remembered on Good Friday condemned Jesus to death. Likewise, Holy Saturday (sometimes referred to as “Black Saturday” commemorating Jesus’ burial) has always felt to me like a day to stay inside, or at least to not travel far.
It’s a good thing to be abruptly reminded that there are more important schedules out there than my own. Do yourself a favor in faith: consider cancelling some routine things in order to attend the Triduum ceremonies of the Lord’s Last Supper, his Passion and Death; and, of course the Vigil Mass of his Glorious Resurrection. Help your friends and relatives get to these celebrations as well. Good Friday, for example, is often an excellent opportunity for many to receive God’s Mercy in the Sacrament of Confession. May we all celebrate these holy days in the spirit of the earliest Christians, the ones whose routine lives were forever upended by Our Lord’s Passion, Death, and Resurrection.