the readings for this evening's mass are Exodus 12: 1-8, 11-14: Psalm 116; 1 Cor. 11: 23-26; John 13: 1-15
This evening we begin our celebrations of the 3 Great Days, the Holy Triduum, with the mass of the last Supper.
For the longest time I was puzzled by the idea of these 3 days. I would count with my fingers - Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, Easter Sunday. And I would always come up with 4 days, not 3. Compounding my problem was that if Jesus, as we believe, died at 3 in the afternoon on Good Friday, and He then rose at some point late Saturday evening or early Sunday morning, which totals somewhere in the range of 36 hours, why would He say that He would rise again on the third day? Well, I had to wait until I was in the Seminary as to how this all worked out.
We need to remember that for our ancestors in the faith, the Jewish people, a day did not start at 12 midnight, but at sunset, and the end of that day would be the next sunset.
So, realizing that our celebrations begin this evening at sunset, the first day was full of events - Jesus celebrates the Last Supper, He then is arrested at the Garden of Gethsemane later that evening, and early the next morning He is put on trial and then later crucified and dies at 3 in the afternoon. Shortly thereafter, He is buried by Jospeh of Arimathea. All this before sundown on Friday. So completes the 1st day.
The second day is a quiet day, from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday. Jesus is in the tomb, and His mother is there for periods of time in prayer, along with some of His female followers. However, according to ancient tradition, our Saviour does not rest in the tomb. If you want to learn more, please watch the video we did last year for Holy Saturday. (34) Fr. Michael's Prayerful Reflection on Holy Saturday - YouTube
The third day begins on Saturday at sunset and concludes on Sunday at sunset. This day is the day of His glorious resurrection, which we celebrate in our Easter Vigil of Saturday evening and our masses on Sunday morning.
3 great days of our faith, and our salvation. Please enter these days with all your heart. These are the 3 greatest days of the year. My dear reader, whether you are in person, or watching online, come, let us worship.