Description of The Triduum (Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Vigil)

Below is a description of the Three Days of Holy Week called the Triduum.

If you want to know more about Holy Week type that into Wikipedia and you will get a ton of info.

Service of Triduum (Three Days)*

Life involves crossing various boundaries: from childhood to adolescence, adolescence to adulthood, and ultimately from life to death. Salvation also involves crossing boundaries. From its earliest days, the church has celebrated Christ’s journey from death to life with the sacred marking of days during Holy Week. These days, known as the Triduum or Three evening will begin with Maundy Thursday, continue on Good Friday, extend through the Vigil of Saturday evening and come to a conclusion on Easter Sunday (sundown on Thursday to sundown on Sunday measured the three days in the ancient world). In a sense, these celebrations together constitute a three-act play.

In Act One (Maundy Thursday) Jesus’ actions reveal that discipleship means crossing the boundary from selfishness to servanthood. While the plot against him begins to unfold, Jesus has a meal with his disciples and afterwards washes their feet. The humility and self-denial of the foot-washing foreshadow the cross, where Jesus washes the whole world in his blood. It is in this context that Jesus gives his disciples a new commandment to love one another “just as I have lovedyou” (John 13:34). We share the meal of bread and wine,remembering that having become one with Christ in baptism we are now to share ourselves with others in love and service. We strip the altar remembering that Jesus was stripped beforehe was beaten and crucified. We are also reminded that Christ was stripped of his dignity on the cross and that our servanthood involves humility and self-denial.

In Act Two (Good Friday) our Lord’s servanthood reaches its ultimate limit.On the cross Jesus became the lamb who was slain for sinners. There he was wounded for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities (Isaiah 53:4). There he revealed God’s love and became the living way into the “sanctuary” (Hebrews 10:19-20) that is communion with God the Father. Good Friday is not a funeral service for Jesus.It is a celebration of the triumph of the cross! In John’s gospel, always the appointed reading for Good Friday, Jesus is the king on his way to enthronement. It is on the cross that God’s power is revealed and God’s enemies (sin and death) are defeated. Because God raised Jesus, the cross is now a symbol of how God triumphs in and through our acts of service and self-sacrifice. The tone of Good Friday is one of prayer and reflection. It is a solemn celebration of our Lord’s victory on the cross.

In Act Three, the Easter Vigil becomes an expression of our spiritual boundary crossing. Each of the four scenes of this act points to some facet of our passage from death to life with Christ. Scene 1 The setting is the new fire, a symbol of Christ’s glorious resurrection from the dead. We quickly process to the sanctuary for the readings, led by the paschal candle. This action symbolizes Christ’s leading us from the darkness of sin to the light of forgiveness. Scene 2 The readings remind us of our baptismal passage from death to life. The creation story prefigures our journey from the spiritual chaos of sin and death to eternal life in Christ. The flood story from Genesis 7-9 reminds us that we, like Noah, have been preserved from God’scondemnation, having been brought safely through the waters of baptism. Like Noah, we who have been saved are a new humanity. The exodus story suggests that we have been rescued from the slavery of sin and brought to the promised land of righteousness in Christ. Ezekiel’s prophecy of the valley of dry bones points to our reception of the life-giving Holy Spirit. Scene 3 The focus shifts to the font, as we celebrate the central act of crossing the boundary from sin and death to new life with Christ:baptism. This celebration of baptism reminds us that in baptism we die and rise again with Christ and are cleansed from sin and “sealed by the Holy Spirit and marked with the cross of Christ forever.” Scene 4The focus is now on the Lord’s table. We remember how Christ, our Passover Lamb, was slaughtered to gain our freedom from sin and death. The risen Christ himself comes to be our food, filling us with faith, hope and love. In this act of remembrance we look toward our final transition from this world to the next, when we anticipate the day” when Christ will come again in beauty and power to share with us the great and promised feast.”

On Easter Sunday, we continue with an epilogue of sorts. The tomb is empty! Jesus Christ is risen! Like Mary Magdalene, we experience the risen Lord and our sadness and weeping come to an end. We now begin a fifty-day feast that lasts until the day of Pentecost, when we celebrate Christ’s sending of the Holy Spirit, the one who guides and sustains us until we pass from this world to the next.

*Adopted from:


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