Today marks the beginning of the Triduum. It is the time of the Church year when we celebrate the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus.
The Triduum is one continuous celebration that begins with the Holy Thursday Mass, continues through Good Friday, and concludes with the final moment of the Easter Vigil: The Resurrection of our Lord.
Julianne Wallace from Busted Halo has created a guide for each day of the Triduum to help you walk and pray through the liturgies.
The Mass on Holy Thursday is commonly known as the Feast of the Lord’s Supper. This Mass is a time for Catholics to remember the Last Supper where Jesus and his apostles gathered to celebrate Passover. In the Holy Thursday celebration, two ritual actions stand out among the rest:
The Washing of the Feet
At the Last Supper, Jesus took a basin and a towel, got down on his hands and knees and washed the feet of all of his apostles. After this action, he commanded the apostles, “I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do” (John 13:15). This is Jesus’ commandment: Just as Jesus has been a servant to his apostles, so the apostles must go out into the world and be servants to everyone around them.
We are called to do the same in our daily lives. Well, we are not called literally to wash each other’s feet (though sometimes that may be the case). The action of washing one another’s feet reminds us of the call to humble servitude. Foot washing is not a re-enactment or re-creation of a past event, but rather, it is a commemorative action that reminds us that God calls us first and foremost to be servants to others in our daily lives.
The ritual washing of the feet can take place in many ways. Some churches choose to have 12 people, who represent the apostles, have their feet washed by the priest presiding over the celebration. Other churches invite the entire gathered community to have its feet washed (this particular tradition is very powerful because everyone is invited to come and have their feet washed by someone else in their community). However the ritual takes shape, foot washing should always be a reminder that Christ has called us to be servants to the entire world.
The Celebration of the Eucharist and the Eucharistic Procession
At the very first Last Supper, Jesus also instituted the Eucharist for the Church. At this Holy Thursday celebration, we are reminded of who we are in Jesus Christ and that, through the sacrament of the Eucharist, we are and we become even more the Body of Christ together.
At the conclusion of the Holy Thursday celebration, there is no concluding prayer. Once the celebration of the Eucharist is completed, there is a Eucharistic Procession (where the Eucharist that is left from Communion is processed to a Chapel of Reservation). This procession to the Chapel of Reservation reminds us of Jesus’ time in the garden of Gethsemane when he prayed so fervently through the night. The entire community is invited to join in this procession and then join in the silent prayer and adoration until night prayer is prayed and the Eucharist is put in the Tabernacle. The gathered community leaves in silence only to return in prayer the next day for the Good Friday celebration.
Reflection questions for Holy Thursday:
Who are those people who need our help the most?
Am I willing to get down on my own hands and knees and help those who are unable to help themselves?
What does the sacrament of the Eucharist mean to me?
Join us for Holy Thursday Mass tonight in person at 7:ooPM or online at www.gbres.org/live, our YouTube channel, or our Facebook page.
Readings for Tonight's Mass
Virtual Triduum Retreats
Resurrection is offering three virtual presentations to help disciples reflect on the most sacred days in our Church year - The Easter Triduum.
Presented by Tom Thibodeau Distinguished Professor of Servant Leadership at Viterbo University and founder of the Place of Grace Catholic Worker House in LaCrosse.
Keep Watch with Christ
Set aside some time this evening for prayer. Put away the phones and turn off the TV and do an hour (or more) of adoration in the Resurrection Day Chapel or in your home. Set a place and a set time during which you “stay and watch” with the Lord, as He requested.
And he cometh to his disciples, and findeth them asleep, and he saith to Peter: What? Could you not watch one hour with me? —Matthew 26:40
If you have kids, it’s a good idea to do a shorter time—maybe ten minutes or so. After they are in bed, you can continue to keep company with Christ.
The important thing here is to just be with Jesus. You don’t have to do anything special, just keep watch with Him for an hour or so. Spiritual reading can be helpful in keeping your mind from wandering.