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Reflections on the Triduum

April 6, 2023

Excerpt from Josephine Lombardi, Living with the Liturgical Year (available for purchase on the shop page).

Paschal Triduum

The term “Paschal Triduum” means “the three days of Passover.” Passover commemorates God’s deliverance of the people of Israel from slavery. These days are the heart of the liturgical year.

Holy Thursday: The Call to Serve

Holy Thursday is a special day when we recall

-the institution of the Holy Eucharist (the Last Supper)

-Jesus washing the feet of his disciples, and

-the institution of the priesthood.

Holy Thursday establishes us as a eucharistic people and as people of service. Jesus came as one who serves. His humility was overflowing. After he washes the feet of his disciples, he says, “So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you” (John 13:14-15). Just as he did at his baptism, Jesus shows us how it’s done. God honours humility. God blesses humility. This is a radical idea! If everyone lived with humility, family life would change, the workplace would change, school would change, marriage would change, society would change. Those who are called to leadership or supervisory roles are called to acts of humble service and love of neighbour.

Like Passion (Palm) Sunday, however, Holy Thursday presents us with another bittersweet revelation: on the night that Jesus celebrates the Last Supper with his friends, one of them betrays him.

Many of us can relate to this scenario:

-The day we get a new job, we hear that a loved one has been diagnosed with cancer.

-Two years into a marriage, a spouse passes away.

-Three months into a pregnancy, a miscarriage occurs.

-Fifteen years into a marriage, a spouse decides to leave.

-Just weeks after graduation, a beloved child dies in a car accident.

The list can go on and on. We may be living the paschal mystery in our daily lives without making the connections. As Jesus relates to our bittersweet seasons, we relate to his.

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