At long last we have come to the pinnacle of the liturgical year: the Paschal Triduum. Herein we commemorate the three most important days in all of history.
Not everyone observes the Triduum, or Lent for that matter. However, I think to ignore them completely is missing out on quite a bit of the story. Yes, the focus of our lives is the Resurrection, that one essential, joyous, incredible thing on which our faith is founded. But the road to Easter joy leads through tears and agony. It leads through the desert, to the cross. To rise from the dead, He had to die first.
Well, He didn’t have to. But He did. And for that we owe Him everything.
Moreover, there is a profound and important message to be found in the Last Supper. It was on this night that Jesus gave us His very Body and Blood. Like, for real, how crazy is that? None of us deserve that in the least, but that’s how much He wants to be unified with Him.
It was on this night that He washed the feet of His disciples and told us to do likewise. No matter what circumstances, no matter how we feel about them, we are called to wash the feet of the Baptist, the Catholic, the Jew, the Muslim, the Hindu, the Buddhist, the agnostic, the atheist, the farmer, the rich CEO, the thief, the drug addict, the stinky through-hiker, the person everyone hangs out with, the person no one will talk to, the easliy-angered, the class clown, the nerd, the philanthropist, the terrorist.
A tall order. And in the end, there’s only one Way by which we can hope to accomplish it.
Then there is the pain of Good Friday. The shame, the ridicule, the mockery, borne with such long-suffering. And we are told that, to some degree, we are called to share in this suffering. To our pragmatic minds, this is a highly ridiculous idea. And maybe it would be…
Except, Good Friday is not the end. It seemed like it was. For hours that seemed like an eternity, there was silence. The silence of death. And then… God called a plot twist.
And so it is that we arrive at Easter Vigil, when aroused from our sleep, we gather amidst the darkness, dazed, confused, disheartened, until a spark illumines the night, firelight frightening the troops of death returning in victory. They stop dead in their tracks. And a light is born that will never die.
No, you misunderstand me, like, a real fire, from which we light the candles of our soul and process into the sanctuary. We Catholics are such daredevils.
Solemn yet joyous, a proclamation: HE LIVES!