Today begins the holiest time of the liturgical year. During the Sacred Triduum, encompassing Holy Thursday, Good Friday and the celebrations of Easter, we recall the pinnacle of Our Lord’s mission on earth – His supreme sacrifice for our sins and His glorious Resurrection on Easter Sunday.
On this day Our Lord instituted the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist at the Last Supper, giving us the inestimable gift of His own Body and Blood and establishing the Sacred Priesthood. The liturgy of today therefore carries a certain atmosphere of joy and celebration in thanksgiving for the Most Blessed Sacrament and the Priesthood by which It comes to us. The ministers wear white vestments, the Gloria is said, and during it the bells are rung one more time before going silent again until Easter.
After Mass, the Blessed Sacrament is taken in procession to an Altar of Repose, beautifully decorated with arrangements of candles and flowers, and the faithful spend time in adoration in obedience to Christ’s request to His Apostles to “watch one hour with Me.” The altars are then stripped of the visible symbols of Christ’s presence, the shadow of the Passion falling more heavily over the church as Good Friday draws near. +
Ante diem festum Paschæ, sciens Jesus, quia venit hora ejus, ut tránseat ex hoc mundo ad Patrem; cum dilexísset suos, qui erant in mundo, in finem diléxit eos.
Before the festival day of the Pasch, Jesus, knowing that His hour was come, that He should pass out of this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them unto the end.
– John 13:1, from the Gospel for today
The Masses and devotions of the Triduum can be viewed live at our online apostolate, LiveMass.
April 18, 2019