By Nathan Costa, Assistant Director of Music
Welcome to Holy Week! Our Lenten observance began with an Ash Wednesday invitation over five weeks ago to conversion of heart, through “prayer, fasting, and self-denial” and through “reading and meditating on God’s holy World.” Perhaps you’ve made a Lenten observance on your own or with your family; or perhaps, with the best of or no intention at all, you’ve done none of these things. As Lent draws to a close, we’re invited yet again through God’s ongoing call to make holy (Latin, sacraficere, to sacrifice) this new time and to attune our thoughts, time and communal prayer to renewing our relationship with God and with one another. The final days of Lent (Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Great Vigil of Easter) which we call the Holy Triduum are more to be lived and experienced than explained. The Triduum inspires all of our senses, employing basic elemental
materials for human life: the stunning sight of fire for light in darkness; the smells of smoke and candlewax; the feel of water and oil running over, for cleansing and healing; the taste of bread and wine for nourishment; the sound of bells ringing and tolling to summon, celebrate, and mourn; the hard touch of the wood of the cross, a reality of both death and life for Christ and his followers. These are three special opportunities to bring Holy Triduum into your life:
•on Maundy Thursday remember Jesus’ commandment (Latin, mandatum) to love one another, and wash the feet of others as he did; celebrate Jesus’ inauguration of the Eucharist at the Last Supper as a way of remembering his presence among us;
•on Good Friday, hear the passion again, pray the church’s solemn prayers for the world for which Christ died, as we place our own sorrows and burdens on the cross that Christ willingly carries for us;
• at the Easter Vigil hear in word and song God’s full plan for our salvation, from the dawn of creation to Jesus’ resurrection; be overcome with awe at light overcoming darkness; witness the rebirth that is baptism on Easter Day, and affirm or renew our own baptismal vows following your Lenten journey; sing Alleluias pentup for 40 days. In all of this, we seek not to imitate or re-enact Jesus’ last days on earth. Rather, in the celebration of a holy Triduum, we “re-present” Christ, bringing him into our midst, renewing our relationships with him and with one another, overwhelming our senses with the fullness of human life—from creation, life-giving meals, and a promise of service to one another, to suffering and death, to new life in the resurrection—wherever we and our families find ourselves in this journey of faith.