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The Easter Triduum

Pope Francis, General Audience, March 31, 2021.

Already immersed in the spiritual atmosphere of Holy Week, we are on the eve of the Easter Triduum. From tomorrow until Sunday, we will live the central days of the Liturgical Year, celebrating the mystery of the Passion, Death and Resurrection of the Lord. And we live this mystery every time we celebrate the Eucharist.

On the evening of Holy Thursday, as we enter the Easter Triduum, we will relive the Mass known as in Coena Domini, that is, the Mass in which we commemorate the Last Supper…It is the evening when Christ left his disciples the testament of his love in the Eucharist, not as a memento, but as a memorial, as his everlasting presence. Every time we celebrate the Eucharist, as I said at the beginning, we renew this mystery of redemption. In this Sacrament, Jesus substituted the sacrificial victim — the Paschal lamb — with himself: his Body and Blood grant us salvation from the slavery of sin and death. It is the evening in which he asks us to love one another by becoming servants to one another, as he did in washing the disciples’ feet.

Good Friday is the day of penance, fasting and prayer. Through the texts of the Sacred Scripture and the liturgical prayers, we will be as though gathered on Calvary to commemorate the redemptive Passion and Death of Jesus Christ. Adoring the Cross, we will relive the journey of the innocent Lamb sacrificed for our salvation. We will carry in our minds and hearts the sufferings of the sick, the poor, the rejected of this world; we will remember the “sacrificed lambs”, the innocent victims of wars, dictatorships, everyday violence, abortions… the crucified of our time, are the image of Jesus Crucified, and Jesus is in them.

Holy Saturday is the day of silence; a silence lived by the first disciples in mourning and bewilderment, shocked by Jesus’ ignominious death…In the darkness of Holy Saturday, joy and light will break through with the rites of the Easter Vigil and, in the late evening, the festive hymn of the Hallelujah. It will be the encounter in faith with the Risen Christ, and the joy of Easter will continue for all throughout the following 50 days, until the coming of the Holy Spirit. He who was crucified is risen! All questions and uncertainties, hesitations and fears are dispelled by this revelation. The Risen One gives us the certainty that good always triumphs over evil.