Easter – the Greatest Feast in the Christian Calendar

Easter – the Greatest Feast in the Christian Calendar
Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
4 Apr 2012
The meaning of Easter is Jesus Christ’s victory of death. His resurrection symbolises the eternal life that is granted to all who believe in Him. Easter also symbolises the complete verification of all that Jesus preached and taught during His three-year ministry. His resurrection gave the irrefutable proof that He really was the Son of God. 

Easter Triduum: (Triduum from the Latin meaning three days)

Lent ends before early evening when Holy Thursday begins. The Easter Triduum begins with the Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper, followed by the high point of the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday Night and closing with Vespers on Easter Sunday.
The Easter fast is sacred on the first two days of the Triduum – Good Friday and Easter Saturday.
Holy Thursday is also the day that Catholics commemorate the institution of the three pillars of the Catholic Faith: the Sacrament of Holy Communion, the priesthood and the Mass.
Holy Thursday – there is the morning Chrism Mass when the priests of each diocese gather with their bishop to consecrate holy oils, which are used throughout the year for the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Orders and the Anointing of the Sick. This ancient practice dates back to the fifth century and stresses the role of the bishop as a successor to the apostles.
There is only one other mass on this day, the Mass of the Lord’s Supper which is celebrated after sundown. This mass commemorates the institution of the Sacrament of Holy Communion and ends with the removal of the Body of Christ from the tabernacle in the main body of the church.
The mass recalls the Last Supper, in which the Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, offered to the Father His Body and Blood under the species of bread and wine and gave them to the Apostles as spiritual nourishment, and He commanded them and their successors in the priesthood to perpetuate the offering.
The person celebrating the mass  will wash the feet of twelve priests to symbolise Christ’s washing the feet of His Apostles, the first priests.
After mass the Blessed Sacrament is carried in procession to the Altar of Repose where it remains until the communion service on Good Friday. After the procession the altar is stripped bare, and all the bells in the church are silent until the Gloria at the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday.
No mass is now celebrated until the Easter Vigil proclaims the Resurrection. However during the night there is the continued Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, just as the disciples stayed with the Lord during His agony on the Mount of Olives before the betrayal of Judas.
Friday – is the Friday within Holy Week – Good Friday – which is traditionally a time of fasting and penance, commemorating the anniversary of Christ’s crucifixion and death. For Christians, Good Friday is not just an historical event but the sacrificial death of Christ, which with the resurrection, comprises the heart of the Christian faith. The customs and prayers associated with Good Friday typically focus on the theme of Christ’s sacrificial death for our sins. The major Good Friday worship service begins in the afternoon at 3.00pm – the time Jesus likely died. Various customs and traditions are associated with the Western celebration of Good Friday. Including the Veneration of the Cross, Holy Communion, which was consecrated on Holy Thursday and distributed during the Mass of the Pre-Sanctified as well as the Stations of the Cross or Way of the Cross or Commemoration of the Lord’s Passion.
Saturday Evening –  Service of Light and Easter Vigil – although celebrated on Holy Saturday, it is the dramatic Easter liturgy that marks the official celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus and beginning of Easter. It is the most important Mass of the liturgical year as well as the first celebration of the Eucharist during the fifty-day long celebrations of Easter, and is marked by the first use since the beginning of Lent of the acclamation “Alleluia”. The holy water front are drained, all the lights are out, the tabernacle is empty. The service begins outside the church. A new fire is lit and blessed and a Paschal is prepared. The priest lights the candle from the new fire and this is processed through the church, being lifted at three different times. Everyone lights their candle from the Easter candle and continues in procession until the whole church is alight. The paschal candle symbolises Christ, the Light of the World. The Mass begins. During the Mass the Easter water is blessed, new members are brought into the Church through baptism and the faithful are blessed with water and renew their baptismal promises.
Sunday – for Catholics, Easter Sunday comes at the end of 40 days of prayer, fasting and almsgiving known as Lent. It is a day of celebration commemorating the Resurrection of Christ. Unlike Good Friday, the churches are usually filled with flowers and is considered a very special feast because it represents the fulfilment of a Christian’s faith.
Way of the Cross in Rome

Every Good Friday a very emotive Way of the Cross takes place in Rome with the Holy Father.  Television cameras join the thousands of people around the Roman Colosseum in contemplating the Passion of Christ. Each year the Pope asks someone to write the reflections for the Way of the Cross however for the first time ever, Pope Benedict XV1 has asked a married couple to write these. The invitation comes at a time when the role of the family is in the spotlight  and under scrutiny with governments and legislators tackling issues of same-sex marriage and wider society questioning the institution of marriage.

No comments yet

Comments are closed

Michigan SEO