Easter Triduum: Celebrating Who We Are
The Triduum – Holy Thursday, Good Friday, the Feast of Easter are three day of festival, the most significant time of our year as a community of faith. These feast days help us to recognize who we are, a people whose faith is founded on the Paschal Mystery, Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. Each day of the Triduum draws our attention to a significant part of our story.
There are many ways to reflect on these aspects of our story and one of the ways is to look at the Triduum through our tradition of Eucharist. In doing so, we do not completely exhaust what Triduum means, nor do we exhaust the meaning of Eucharist. But by looking at these three days through the lens of Eucharist we can gather something of who we are as a Eucharistic people.
The Eucharist is the central sacrament of our community. We are most recognizable as a community on those occasions when we gather at Mass. Here we can look around and see our fellow community members. Each of us arrives with our own particular needs and abilities. The community has the opportunity to share our time and our prayer with others. We may have our own personal spirituality and relationship with God, but we also have a need to recognize that we do not live in isolation from others. We have a need to gather, and Eucharist is our communal occasion. The Triduum experience this week can help us to see who we are as a Eucharistic community.
Holy Thursday – This is the feast of the Lord’s Supper. As we remember the Passover meal that Jesus had with his disciples, we focus on the role of the meal in our faith community. Jesus called the disciples to share his mission. At the Last Supper, he gathered these friends around the Table. Like all of our family meals, our Eucharist as disciples of Jesus expresses our relationship with one another as well as our relationship with Jesus.
Here at St. Theresa’s, on this past Holy Thursday, we acknowledged that the Table of the Eucharist is a place of gathering our faith family. We were honoured to welcome some of our younger members to the Table for the first time. Their First Eucharist proclaims their membership among us in our faith family.
Last week at the retreat for these children, their catechists did something remarkable as a sign of commitment to them. Following the example of Jesus washing the feet of his disciples at the Last Supper, the catechists washed the feet of the children preparing for First Eucharist.
Good Friday – A remembrance of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. Sacrifice means to offer something of value for the sake of another. We see examples of sacrifice everyday in parents, spouses and friends. We need sacrifice. It expresses our commitment to one another. Eucharist as sacrifice celebrates those many relationships we hold dear in our community and the love we commit to them.
Good Friday expresses the commitment and love that God has for all the peoples of the earth. As we celebrate this commitment we do it in retelling the story of Jesus’ passion, in prayer for our world and in sharing at the table of communion. The commitment to service that is acknowledged when Jesus washes the feet of his disciples at the Last Supper is again expressed in his sacrifice on the cross. In our Good Friday service we commit ourselves to service in our world.
Feast of Easter – This is the celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus. It is the ultimate expression that our God is a God of life and of loving, saving care for all humanity. In celebrating the Resurrection of Jesus we proclaim to our world that we are a people committed to life-giving love for all creation and for every single person on earth. Each and every Eucharist is a prayer of gratitude for this committed love of God which we are called to reflect to others by life- giving service in our world.