The Triduum: Encounter Jesus’ Love for You

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By Robyn Lee

How can we understand and relay to our students what Jesus did for us on this earth? We teach them in class, we read about it in Scriptures, but to understand the depth of Jesus’ love for us, we must experience it. Holy Week is the perfect time to encounter Christ and understand how the Lord of the universe hung on a cross out of love for … you. 

Holy Thursday. On this night Jesus showed his disciples what it means to serve. He washes their feet and gives them the command to love one another. On this special night the parish gathers at one Mass to celebrate the institution of the Eucharist and priesthood at the Last Supper. Even though this is a joyous celebration, Mass ends on a somber note with the altar being stripped bare and the people leaving in silence. We remember Jesus’ betrayal and arrest in the garden. When the altar is stripped, the Blessed Sacrament is taken to a different place called the altar of repose to save the Body of Christ for the faithful who attend the Good Friday liturgy. Encourage your students and families to visit Jesus at the altar of repose. Picture Jesus beaten and bruised after his arrest and think about how consoled he would be to receive a visit from you.  

Good Friday. On this day, Jesus stripped himself of glory, took on the form of a slave, and humbled himself to a cruel death on a cross. There are no sacraments celebrated on the day of Jesus’ passion and death. Invite students to keep silence during the hours that Jesus hung on the cross (traditionally between noon and 3 p.m.) The Good Friday liturgy begins at 3 p.m. and it is divided into three parts: Liturgy of the Word, Veneration of the Cross, and Holy Communion. As you go up to venerate the cross, picture Jesus, the king of the universe, humiliated, ridiculed, and suffering for love of … you 

Holy Saturday/Easter Vigil. On Holy Saturday the Church contemplates the suffering and death of our God. We wait at his tomb in silence and mourn. But after the sun goes down a miracle happens. Jesus Christ is risen! St. Augustine calls this night the mother of all vigils. We gather at our parishes and sit in darkness. We are drawn to the back of the church as the deacon carries in the Easter candle and sings “the light of Christ” and we respond “thanks be to God.” In his 2015 Easter message, Pope Francis said, “Love has triumphed over hatred, life has conquered death, light has dispelled the darkness!” The Easter vigil is the beginning of the Easter celebration and it is divided into four parts: the service of light, the Liturgy of the Word, the Liturgy of Baptism, and the Liturgy of the Eucharist. The new water is blessed and new members come into the Church on this night. This is the holiest night of the year. Share in the joy of Christ’s victory. Jesus conquered death and won salvation so we could live with him in heaven forever. Yes, he did that for … you. 


Robyn Lee is a former editor at Catechist magazine. She has since entered religious life and is now known as Sr. Mary Mercy, in the order of the Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist.

This article was originally published as an Editor’s Note in Catechist. It has been modified to fit this format.

Image credit: Photo courtesy of George Martell/Archdiocese of Boston.

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