Triduum Message

This was a message for the parish bulletin:

What a delightful opportunity it is to go on a retreat! We fight the battle every day: at work, at home, with ourselves; how essential it is to retreat periodically. No one can keep fighting continuously. We retreat to the loving embrace of our God and Father, and he gives us energy and will to fight again. A retreat is different from a vacation because the object is not merely a break from the usual course of things but to return to the one who loves us, whose love is the reason we continue to fight the good fight.

A retreat can involve going away to a quiet place, a place apart from the causes of stress, but even without the ability or need to change our location, a retreat is about changing our mindset. If a person climbs to the top of mountain, they may find God there, but he was just as present at the bottom of the mountain. A retreat means simply deciding to live life differently for a little while; how differently depends on the situation of each person. A retreat is about living, for just a little time, in a way that has the power to transform the rest of the time.

Holy Week is the most important week of the Church year. Holy Week begins with Palm or Passion Sunday, where we remember the triumphant entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem and his passion and death, and ends with the Easter Triduum, the three days of remembrance. These three days are the yearly retreat of every Christian.

The Easter Triduum, though three days long, is one act of remembering the central mystery of salvation history. On Holy Thursday evening, we recall how Jesus, on the night before he died, ate supper with his disciples, how he washed their feet, how he gave us his Body to eat and Blood to drink in the form of bread and wine, and how he prayed all night. On Good Friday, we remember how Jesus was betrayed and arrested, and we make the journey recorded in the Stations of the Cross with Jesus, our beloved Savior, and stand at the foot of the Cross with Mary. On Holy Saturday, we begin, seemingly without hope, with Jesus in the tomb, but after the sun has set, we light the Easter fire and celebrate the Easter Vigil: the Resurrection of Jesus that is the proof of our future resurrection. It is most fitting that this night, the greatest of all nights, is the occasion to welcome new Christians into our community and reunite with Christians who desire to join visibly with the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. Then on Easter Sunday morning, we rise up in joy because our Savior has risen from the dead.

These three days, this Triduum, become an opportunity to be immersed in the Mysteries we proclaim. Though we go home between the parts of the one liturgy, though some may have to return to their work each day and all deal with everyday concerns and the preparations for Easter, we are anchored in this act of remembrance that we keep returning to. By participating in the Triduum, we are conforming ourselves to the actions of our Savior: we die with Christ and rise with him.

By means of the Triduum, we step out of the present moment with all its worries and anxieties, and return to a moment of history, 2000 years ago, that is the central moment of history. Then, by means of remembering, we bring the truth of that moment into our present lives, where it transforms the events we are experiencing in the present moment.

You are invited to the communal celebration of the Triduum here and whether you are able to join us for some or all of the Triduum services, I encourage everyone to participate in the Triduum as much as they are able. Let these three days, that will soon be here, be in your homes and workplaces a time for silence and prayer and remembering and then the shout and celebration of Easter joy.