Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Easter Triduum, Part Two


   We took part in the Easter Triduum several years before making the journey home to The Catholic Church.  The resounding affect it had on us was because of our Protestant history.  Faithful Christians that are Protestant Christians know their Bible. We knew ours, we studied Old Testament history, New Testament history, we studied miracles, we studied characters, we studied topics, we did word studies on the Word of God.  You name it, we did it!  The Bible is the foundation the Protestant Movement stands on (sola scriptura), so Protestants that are serious about their faith are serious about knowing God's Word!
   In our latter years of Protestant ministry (see our July 2015 posts) we were searching for more of the historical Christianity that has steadfastly held the Christian Faith together over the 2,000 years since Christ's ascension back into heaven.  So we studied the Bible AND we studied the early Church writings.  We gradually came to the place of a deeper appreciation and understanding of Salvation History.  That appreciation grew into yearning that grew into the moment when we realized we had backed into The Catholic Church.  It was through our reading but also through "Catholic" experiences like the Triduum that helped to convince us to reconcile with The Church.  
   So back to our first few Triduums before our journey home.  As we worshipped with fellow Christians in three of the four masses of the Triduum, we were awed by how the liturgy profoundly expresses Salvation History!  We asked our friends if the average Catholic truly comprehended the gravity of the liturgies.  The response was, if they read the  Bible as much as Protestants do, they do. But just as in the Protestant Movement so it is in the Catholic Church--some Christians do not embrace their Christian Faith heritage as much as they can. 
   Now that we are a part of The Catholic Church, we come alongside our fellow believers, shake their shoulders, and say, "Don't you realize what you are taking part in here!?"  Not really.  However, we count it an honor when a curious parishoner seeks us out to ask us how the Scriptures are fulfilled by The Catholic Church. Recently we've (Jeff) had the privilege of sponsoring a former Muslim/now Christian as he made his own journey into The Church. Explaining the Sacred Traditions to our friend was different than explaining it to someone from a culture that had some Christian influence. He had none, but began his search anyway, eventually coming to the United States, moving in with his cousin's family 2 blocks from our apartment and showing up at The Cathedral of St. Joseph where we attend! (Another story for another time.)  We do not make any assumptions with M.K.'s knowledge of Christianity so we remain elementary in our explanations and rely on the internet because a picture is worth a thousand words in a thousand languages.  His native tongue is French, but he speaks English quite well. Following is some of our tutorial for him in preparation for Lent, Palm Sunday and the Easter Triduum.
   These links expand our understanding and appreciation of some of the devotional practices of the Lenten season. Each link provides resources that go into deeper detail about the practices.



Palm Sunday: On Palm Sunday we remember and celebrate the time when Jesus rode triumphantly into Jerusalem.  All four Gospels record this event from the earthly life of Jesus.  You may read of Jesus' Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem (or Palm Sunday) from the following Gospel passages:
     Gospel of St Matthew 21:1-11
     Gospel of St Mark 11:1-11
     Gospel of St Luke 19:28-44
     Gospel of St John 12:12-19
Palm Sunday gets its name from the fact that Jesus' admirers waved palm branches and placed palm branches on the road as he rode a donkey into Jerusalem.  They were hailing him as their king and deliverer from Roman oppression.  The Old Testament prophets also foretold of this event.  In Jesus' day, palm branches were a symbol of peace & victory.  Much like waving flags or banners today.

Easter Triduum/Holy Week celebrates and commemorates The Passion of Jesus.  The following passages from the Gospels contain the events of Jesus' final days before his trial, crucifixion and resurrection:
     Gospel of St Matthew 26-28
     Gospel of St Mark 14-16
     Gospel of St Luke 22-24
     Gospel of St John 18-21
In these Gospel passages you will read of:
    The Betrayal of Judas and Denial of Peter; Trial (the trial was a mockery) of Jesus before Jewish and Roman Officials (Remembered on Holy Thursday/Maundy Thursday)
     The Crucifixion of Jesus (Remembered on Good Friday)
     The Resurrection of Jesus (Celebrated on Easter Sunday) 

We will worship at four masses: Thursday night, Friday afternoon, Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday. They are longer than our Sunday and weekday mass and you may have many questions. It might help you to view these links:

   On Saturday night before Easter Sunday, we celebrate the Easter Vigil Mass.  This Mass is approximately three hours long and is filled with liturgical readings and singing, beauty and Truth. We recognize and celebrate our place in the story of Salvation History.  Much scripture (Old Testament and New Testament) is read, physical darkness and light are used to demonstrate the reality of Jesus being the Light of the World and the Light of Salvation.  When we reconciled with The Catholic Church, this was the mass where our confirmation vows were declared.  And it is at this mass were millions around the world who have made the same journey of fatih are confirmed in The Church--it is a profound mass.
    You will recognize that the liturgy of the Easter Vigil Mass is the expanded worship we join in at every mass during the year.  The Old Testament, Psalms and the New Testament readings we pray and sing at every mass culminate in the Easter Vigil Mass by recounting the outstanding deeds of Salvation History.    We are reminded by the solemnity of this mass of our humble place in God's salvation of creation. You may want to listen to Bishop Barron's homily on Salvation History before reading in more detail about the movement of the Easter Vigil.
   
http://www.wordonfire.org/resources/homily/the-great-story-comes-to-its-climax/998/

http://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/liturgical-year/triduum/roman-missal-and-the-easter-vigil.cfm




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