The Final Days of the Journey.

Triduum 2A little over six weeks ago we began a journey. One that needed prayer, fasting and almsgiving to sustain us. A journey that required each of us to look within. To see where we experience God in the ordinary rhythm of our lives. To see where change might be needed. To look upon Jesus as our model and to surrender ourselves to God’s will, and a deeper cooperation with God’s grace.

Over 550 individuals at Saint John Bosco Parish have been using Matthew Kelly’s Perfectly Yourself – Discovering God’s Dream for You to help them on their Lenten journey. That book, along with the short daily videos, has challenged us to cooperate with God’s grace in order to become the person God intends us to be. That means that we always remember, as Kelly concludes in the final paragraphs of the book, “God has an incredible dream for you, He wants you to be all He created you to be, the-very-best-version-of-yourself. . . . Whatever is stopping you from becoming the-best-version-of-yourself, cast it from your life . . . and whatever is helping you to become the-best-version-of-yourself, embrace it with all your heart, mind, body, and soul. If you are to be happy, it will be as yourself – not as some second or third rate version of someone else.”

We are now near the end of Lenten journey and begin our celebration of the event of our redemption. Lent ends on Holy Thursday evening and the Sacred Paschal Triduum begins with the celebration of the Mass of the Lord’s Supper. “Triduum” comes from two Latin words, tres and dies, which means “a space of three days.” But since we have four days – Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday – the “three” might be a little confusing. The confusion is cleared up when we understand how the days are calculated. On all high festival days, the church counts a day the same way as Jewish people count high festival days, that is, from sundown to sundown. Thus, the Triduum consists of three twenty-four-hour periods that stretch over four calendar days. It begins with sundown on Holy Thursday with the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, and concludes with Easter Evening Prayer at sundown on Easter Sunday; its high point is the celebration of the Easter Vigil.

On these sacred days we do not simply recreate the events of Christ’s life. We do not move from the Last Supper on Thursday, to Christ’s death on the cross on Friday and to His resurrection on Sunday morning. Instead, we celebrate one event – Redemption. Salvation. And each day of the Triduum a different facet of this event is remembered. All of them together – form the celebration of our redemption.

Remember what we celebrated at the liturgy on Palm Sunday. In Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem we see the different elements of these sacred days. First, there is joy and celebration. In a sense, Jesus was coming into His kingdom and being acclaimed as a King! But, he is a different kind of King. One who will give his life for His people. And beneath that festive mood there is tragedy. Jesus knows that quite soon the very people who acclaim Him will denounce Him. He has no illusions; He is traveling toward His death.

In your prayer during this Sacred Paschal Triduum, allow that story to guide you. Experience the many different feelings here. The joy, as well as the terror and sorrow. Remember in your prayer that Jesus is going to His death so that you and I may have resurrected life.

As I indicated at the Masses on Palm Sunday, this is the ultimate week that was. On all of the calendars in all of human history, this is the one week that changed absolutely everything. This is the week that we were told to be servants and saw the institution of the Eucharist. It is the week that witnessed breathtaking betrayal, denial, torture, heartbreak, suffering, and death. It is the week that would lead, ultimately, to resurrection and new life – redemption and salvation.

So, I urge you to be intentional about taking part in the Sacred Paschal Triduum. Make the extra effort to be there each day.

Celebrate the Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord’s Supper at your parish. That Mass is at 7:30 pm at Saint John Bosco Parish – and you certainly are welcome to join us. After that Mass, there will be Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament in our Eucharistic Adoration Chapel until 10:00 pm – when we will pray Night Prayer.

Be there on Good Friday to participate in the Solemn Celebration of the Passion of the Lord with the community of believers to which you belong. Reflect on John’s Passion story, pray for the people of our world and all of our needs, join in the adoration of cross (at Saint John Bosco we use a cross with a relic of the true cross), and receive Holy Communion. That celebration is at 3:00 pm at Saint John Bosco Parish – and again, feel welcome to join us. At Saint John Bosco, we will pray the Stations of the Cross at 12:00 noon on Good Friday.

At Saint John Bosco, the Blessing of Easter Food will take place at 1:00 pm on Holy Saturday in the church.

Decide now which Mass on Easter you will join with your parish community in celebrating the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus. The Easter Vigil Mass at Saint John Bosco is at 7:30 pm on Saturday. Easter Sunday Masses at Saint John Bosco Parish are at 8:30 and 11:00 am. I invite you to come, join us in giving thanks to God for the greatest gift given to us – Redemption!

Question – How will you be celebrating the Sacred Paschal Triduum this year?

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