The Easter Triduum: A Journey into The Paschal Mystery of Christ
'Let us journey along in and through the Paschal Mystery of Christ, and enter into the joy of Easter'
'Let us journey along in and through the Paschal Mystery of Christ, and enter into the joy of Easter'
Pope Benedict calls Christians, as we relive the Holy Triduum, to "make ourselves available to welcome God's will into our lives, aware that our true good, the path of our lives, is found in His will."
The Institution of the Eucharist
Our Holy Father observed that "Holy Thursday is the day that commemorates the institution of the Eucharist and ministerial priesthood." On the afternoon of this sacred day, "the Easter Triduum truly begins," explained the Pope, "with the remembrance of the Last Supper at which Jesus instituted the commemoration of his Passion, fulfilling the Jewish paschal ritual."
More than ten years ago, then Cardinal Ratzinger wrote in his book God Is Near Us that Christ's words of Eucharistic institution at the Last Supper were an anticipation of his death, and the transformation of that death into an event of love. Yet this is so "only in that they did not remain mere words but were given content by his actual death," a death that would be empty of meaning if it were not for the Resurrection, in which it "is made clear that [Christ's] words were spoken with divine authority, that his love is indeed strong enough to reach out beyond death" (43). Thus Christ's word, death, and resurrection make up a whole, and "constitute a veritable reality." This, Cardinal Ratzinger explains, is the "single mystery of Easter" and "the source and origin of the Eucharist" (44).
If we reflect on the meaning of the "veritable reality" constituted by the Paschal Mystery of Christ, we begin to grasp something of the incomparable gift of Holy Thursday: an eve on which our Lord Jesus Christ transcended the boundaries of time and space, making his most precious sacrifice of his body and blood a reality in the present. With the words, "Do this in memory of Me" (Lk 22:19), True God and True Man commands that the Eucharist be perpetuated throughout all time, granting to humankind the ability to receive the life-giving sustenance of his body, blood, soul and divinity in this wondrous sacrament of sacraments.
Blessed John Paul II explained: "The Church has received the Eucharist from Christ her Lord not as one gift -- however precious -- among so many others, but as the gift par excellence, for it is the gift of himself, of his person in his sacred humanity, as well as the gift of his saving work" (Ecclesia De Eucharistia, 11).
This Holy Thursday let us meditate deeply on the incomparable gift of Eucharist, the life-blood dynamic of Christians; let us gaze into the "veritable reality" which is the mystery of Christ's life and unveil our hearts to the sacrifice our Savior underwent in order to give the gift of his own precious blood. For, as Cardinal Ratzinger observed, "the Eucharist is far more than just a meal; it has cost a death to provide it, and the majesty of death is present in it. Whenever we hold it, we should be filled with reverence in the face of this mystery, with awe in the face of this mysterious death that becomes a present reality in our midst. Certainly, the overcoming of this death in the Resurrection is present at the same time, and we can therefore celebrate this death as the feast of life, as the transformation of the world" (God Is Near Us, 44).
The Holy Triduum: Renewed Submission and Abandonment to Love
Pope Benedict also reminded the faithful of the meaning of our Savior's action of washing the apostles' feet: "Jesus washes the feet of his apostles, inviting them to love one another as he loved them, giving his life for them. Repeating this gesture in the liturgy, we are also called to actively bear witness to our Redeemer's love."
The primary way in which we bear witness to our Redeemer's love is by saying "yes" to God's will. Pope Benedict explained that our Savior subordinated his will "to the will of the Father, his natural will transformed into a 'yes' to God's will."
In this subordination of his human will to the Father's, our Savior reveals to the entire human race the meaning of what it is to be truly human, created in God's image and likeness. Nevertheless, some view the Christian act of submission and abandonment to God's will as akin to slavery. How is it, some ask, that a person can be truly free if they live constantly under the "repressive force of a God who demands constant servitude?"
Fr. Rosh A. Kereszty wrote that serving God, the "true Absolute, results in growing harmony and freedom." However, if we set ourselves up "as an 'absolute' by choosing limited goods like pleasure, wealth, glory, or power as ultimate values, [we] end up in slavery and ...
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