Holy Week begins on Palm Sunday with the entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem. Holy Week contains the 3 most important days of the Church’s year: Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter. Lent ends on Holy Thursday and the church enters into the Triduum, or “three days.” On Holy Thursday, the feet of the 12 are washed, symbolizing Jesus’ call for us to serve others. After the Holy Thursday evening Mass the Blessed Sacrament is carried in profound solemnity to a place of reservation where others may come to visit. It is the long-standing tradition to visit 3 churches on Holy Thursday night. On Good Friday, no Mass is celebrated anywhere in the entire world. Visit any church on Good Friday and Holy Saturday and there is an existential emptiness because the Blessed Sacrament is not in any tabernacle in any church in the world. The church is empty of God’s abiding presence. The sanctuary lamp is extinguished. The tabernacle door is left open. The altar is stripped bare of everything to symbolize the death of Christ and the coldness of death. Where would we be, had God not redeemed us in Christ Jesus? The Son of God has died for us. On Good Friday, all are silent from noon to 3 as Christ is upon the cross. All Christians throughout the world gather in churches at 3PM to venerate the Holy Cross and receive Holy Communion that was consecrated the day before and kept hidden for those who may be dying and in need of Viaticum. Finally, Christians gather throughout the world after sundown on Holy Saturday to keep vigil and await the great Mass of the Resurrection of the Savior. A single candle carried into the dark church and soon the darkness is no more. That candle will burn at the foot of your casket one day to guide your feet through the darkness of death to the glory of heaven.
Please do not miss immersing yourself into the ancient and sacred rituals of the Triduum. They are 3 days like no other in the Church’s calendar. Wherever you are, keep a profound silence from Holy Thursday until Easter Sunday. Turn off your devices and enter into the ancient and majestic solemnity of our faith in the death and resurrection of the only Savior of the world.
“We adore you oh Christ, and we praise you. For by your Holy Cross you have redeemed the world.”
– Fr. Gerard Gordon