The Triduum (meaning three days in Latin), is considered the most sacred feast on our Liturgical Calendar for the entire year. It is considered the Christian Passover, beginning with Holy Thursday, peaking at the heart of the Triduum with the Easter Vigil, and ending on Easter Sunday with evening prayer. On Holy Thursday we recite three readings, the Passover meal in Exodus, St. Paul’s description of the last supper, and then St. John’s account of Jesus washing the feet of his disciples. You may see this being reenacted at your local parish. Your pastor may wash the feet of 12 parishioners or parish leaders. Our new Pope Francis is breaking tradition this year. He is celebrating the Mass commemorating the Last Supper, which normally takes place at either, the Basilica of St. John Lateral or St. Peter’s, by opting for a juvenile prison ‘Casal del Marmo’ in Rome.
How beautiful, to take such a sacred moment of celebration, and share it with the poor, and depraved of our society. By this act of generosity on behalf of Pope Francis, he points us to the Passion that fueled the Triduum. That passion is God’s love for each of us regardless of our sins. We often equate Jesus passion with his suffering, but let us take a closer look at that. Passion in the dictionary means, “Strong and barely controllable emotion”. Every step he took from the washing of the feet, to his ultimate surrender on the cross, was driven by his passionate love for each of us as though we were the only one.
The Paschal Mystery is beyond my grasp of understanding. What I can grasp, and only minutely, is the understanding through Mary. As a mother, and a mother of sons, I can sympathize with her agony to witness her son’s death. I can slip myself into her shell, and imagine how she felt, as they took her son’s lifeless cold, sticky, body, and placed him in her arms embrace. How she must have recounted when they placed her son’s life filled warm, sticky, body, into her arms embrace at birth. How she then washed him clean as before, but this time wrapping him in swaddling clothes for death, and not life. Placing him in a tomb, as though he were being placed back into her womb, and as he was in her womb, waiting to be born to life, she waited outside of his tomb, for him to be reborn into eternal life. This I can imagine. This kind of love I can understand. Jesus love is beyond what I can understand, as I can love, and sacrifice for one who loves me in return, but would I ….or could I, for all? Especially those who reject me, disrespect me, and wound me over, and over, again?
May your journey through the Triduum this year, fill you with the passion of Christ. May you feel how deeply in love he is with you, and that he heals every fiber of your being, creating in you a new beginning of a life filled with immeasurable joy, and love that spills over in abundance for all of God’s creations.