Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
With Palm Sunday, the Church enters her annual observation of Holy Week. In these days, we will walk with Jesus from the Last Supper to Calvary, from the Cross to the tomb, and there with Mary and those who followed him we will wait for the promised resurrection. This week is the high point, not only of our liturgical practice, but also of the whole Christian faith.
An ancient maxim in the Church says “Lex orandi, lex credendi,” meaning “the law of prayer is the law of faith.” Our prayer, especially liturgical worship, is a reflection of what we believe. Thus, the liturgies of Holy Week reflect in a profound way what we believe about Jesus’ saving Passion, Death, and Resurrection. We truly believe that Jesus established his apostles as the first priests and entrusted to them the gift of the Eucharist. We truly believe that Jesus was condemned to die and was crucified in atonement for the sins of all, and that from the Cross He calls us to Himself. We truly believe that Jesus, the Word Incarnate, the Divine Son of God, the second Person of the Blessed Trinity, was buried in a tomb and thus hallowed the grave for all believers. The whole of salvation history points to these days, the whole hope of every Christian rests upon the mystery of these days, the whole purpose of our Catholic faith and practice is rooted in and returns to these holy days.
The Paschal Triduum (pronounced “trid-oo-um”) represents the most important, the highest of holy, celebrations in the Church’s calendar. The Last Supper, recalled at the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday, serves as the model for every Mass. It is the sacrifice of Christ at Calvary that is made present to us again each time the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is offered. It is the triumph of Christ over sin and death in His Resurrection that allows us to celebrate the Mass each day, not as a mournful ritual, but as a joy-filled offering of gratitude for God’s gift of mercy, peace, and forgiveness.
Enter deeply into this Holy Week. Come to as much of the Triduum as you can. Receive the sacrament of Confession. Walk with Jesus as He carries the Cross for you and extends his arms in an embrace of merciful love. May these holy days truly be sanctified and be for us a renewal in faith.