What a blessing to celebrate Holy Thursday as the first part of the Easter Triduum in the Church! On this night, the Church recalls Jesus’ institution of the Eucharist and the ministerial priesthood at His Last Supper with the Apostles. Our Lord gives us everything: His entire body, blood, soul and divinity in the Eucharist. How blessed are we who are called to the Lamb’s Supper in the Mass! How merciful and beautiful a Savior Who held nothing back from His people! That is the measure of His love for us. On Holy Thursday night, Jesus made it possible for us to share intimately in His very being at each Mass. Let us not forget how unfathomably beautiful a gift He has given us on this sacred night. Let us show our gratitude by receiving the Eucharist often, and we shall become more and more like Jesus, Who gave His life for all.
– Jesse Ochs, St. John Vianney Theological Seminary
Over the last few weeks, I have been intrigued by a line in the Second Eucharistic Prayer where the priest says, “At the time he was betrayed and entered willingly into his Passion.” I have been drawn to this prayer because of the word willingly. This single word provides a particularly powerful reflection for Good Friday as we contemplate Jesus’ Passion and death. It forces us to ask ourselves whether we believe Our Lord went to the cross on Good Friday reluctantly to save us, or do we truly believe that he willingly entered into his Passion and death because he loves us? Only a God-Man who is radically in love with his beloved would willingly plumb the depths of suffering, humiliation and death to accomplish your redemption and mine. This is the gift of Good Friday. You and I are known, wanted and loved by a God who willingly became man, underwent his Passion and death and who, ultimately, destroyed even death’s power over us through his resurrection. Lord Jesus, open our hearts to believe in and receive your unfathomable love for us in a new and powerful way this Good Friday.
– Luke Friess, St. John Vianney Theological Seminary
While the events of Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday are given in detail, the Gospels are silent as to what happened on Holy Saturday. Perhaps that’s because there wasn’t much going on. Jesus had died and was now lying in the tomb. His disciples were left alone in their confusion and grief. There were no miracles being performed, there were no sermons being preached. There was only silence.
Yet, even in this apparent silence, God was still accomplishing his great act of redemption. According to ancient tradition, today is the day in which Jesus descended into the realm of the dead and shattered the gates of death in order to pull Adam, Eve and all of their descendants up from the grave. Today is the day in which hope and victory were delivered to those who lay in the dark sleep of death.
Today is, therefore, a day for us to ponder the fact that, even in times of sorrow and grief, when God appears to be silent, he’s still active, working all things for our good. Today, we are reminded that sometimes we need simply to sit in hopeful silence and patiently wait for the promised Resurrection.
– Deacon Brian McCaffrey, St. Meinrad School of Theology
“When [Jesus] entered Jerusalem the whole city was shaken and asked, ‘Who is this?’” (Mt 21:10). On Easter, Jesus definitively answers the crowd’s question. Jesus’ Resurrection proves that He is truly God as well as truly man. Furthermore, He is our Messiah. Jesus, as God, loves us so much that He’s willing to die to save us.
Jesus’ Resurrection also poses questions to us: who are we, and how will we live in light of God’s saving work? Jesus’ sacrificial work proved God’s great love and called us into communion as His sons and daughters. We must only choose to respond and rejoice in the truth of God’s love. This truth should shake our lives, much as Jerusalem was shaken. This truth should radiate our lives, so fulfilling God’s will is the driving force for all our actions, especially imitating Christ’s sacrificial love. We should also long to share the message of Christ’s Resurrection so that others can know His love too. In this way, the whole world will know, “Who is this?” This is Jesus Christ our Lord, the God who saves us.
– Adam Zarybnicky, Conception Seminary College