REFLECTION FOR PALM SUNDAY PASSIONTIDE (PART 2), Week beginning 2ND APRIL 2023
On this weekend, with Palm Sunday, we have once again the opening of Holy Week.
Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of Holy Week are very “quiet” in terms of Liturgy or Worship.
They are followed immediately by great days in that respect: the 3 days that constitute the Sacred Triduum.
“Triduum” comes from the Latin and it means ‘3 days’, and yet it is very noticeably a singular and not a plural noun. So, the great Liturgies of those days are, in fact, one long, unbroken service in 3 parts, as follows:
HOLY THURSDAY: THE MASS OF THE LORD’S SUPPER (8pm).
GOOD FRIDAY: THE SERVICE OF THE LORD’S PASSION (3pm).
HOLY SATURDAY: EASTER VIGIL (8.30pm).
The unbrokenness is illustrated thus: after the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, there is no official Blessing – rather there is some time for silent reflection (till Midnight’s closing) in the side-chapel. This is in the presence of the Reserved Sacrament (the ciborium or ciboria covered on the altar) – rather than in front of the Monstrance. This is “spiritual watching” on the night of Jesus’ capture and trial.
The Service of the Passion of the Lord at 3pm on Good Friday commences with no formal greeting. It is not Mass, of course. Its final part is the distribution of Holy Communion from the Tabernacle. It ends with no formal blessing, as it anticipates the Easter Vigil.
The Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday (8.30pm) is the greatest, and so longest, ceremony of the Church’s Year. It incorporates the New Fire and the New Water.
It is the so great ceremony of the Glorious Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
As Catholics, let us endeavour to “pull out all the stops” and so achieve “a hat-trick” of attendances at the Sacred Triduum – the holiest time of the Church’s Year.