Happy Easter!! Shawn and I hope that you are all enjoying this blessed day! Easter is one of my favorite days of the year, and I like to celebrate it by observing all of the days of the Triduum.
The Triduum begins with Holy Thursday. This is the day that the church commemorates the Last Supper that Jesus shared with his disciples. Of course, the Last Supper is when Christ instituted the practice of Holy Communion, but something else happened that night, too. Before they ate, Jesus washed the feet of his disciples. This humbling event really symbolized everything Christ stood for, and what Christians everywhere should emulate. In the act of washing the disciples' feet, Jesus put their needs above his own, and he showed a desire to serve them in whatever way he could.
On Good Friday, the church commemorates the death of Jesus on the cross. Good Friday is a day of fasting, and many Catholics also observe a time of silence from noon to 3:00pm, symbolic of the time that Jesus spent on the cross. There is no Mass on Good Friday, and the services that day are very quiet and solemn. The church has been stripped of all decor, and the focus of the service is reading the Passion of Christ and the veneration of the cross.
Shawn and I enjoy going to the Easter Vigil Mass, which takes place on Saturday night. It begins after sundown, and it starts with the lighting of the new Easter candle (which is used in various liturgies throughout the year). The Mass begins in a very solemn manor, in a church lit mostly by candlelight. After the Old Testament readings, the Gloria is sung as the lights are turned on, symbolizing Christ's presence on earth. Before the Gospel reading, the Alleluia is sung for the first time since Lent began. We can now say or sing Alleluia because Jesus has risen from the dead! The Easter Vigil Mass is also when converts are admitted into the Catholic church, so most Vigil Masses will include baptisms and confirmations. This weekend is the 8th anniversary of my conversion to the Catholic church.
I really liked the way Father Ward explained the Triduum during Holy Thursday Mass. He said that on Holy Thursday, we commemorate and celebrate the life and service of Jesus. On Good Friday, we commemorate and celebrate his death for us on the cross. And on Easter, we commemorate and celebrate his resurrection!
Alleluia!! He is risen! So it is definitely a Happy Easter. :)