The Promise is to You

Triduum: A Time of Hope

Before the light of Easter, the days of Jesus’ passion seemed very dark. Beginning on Holy Thursday at the Last Supper, Jesus warned his apostles of his death. Judas slipped away and sold him for 30 pieces of silver.

Jesus and the other eleven went to the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus sweat blood as he begged his father, “Abba, Father, all things are possible to you; remove this chalice from me; yet not what I will, but what you will” (Mk 14:36). Then Judas and the guards appeared and Jesus was brutally arrested. His beloved apostles fled.

On Good Friday Jesus was tortured and killed. Everything he had said and done over the past three years looked like it was over. Everyone thought he was defeated.

So certain were they that they laid Jesus in a tomb. The entrance was sealed with a large stone. Roman soldiers stood guard.

Yet out of that time of darkness sprang our greatest hope. The innocent one who was sold paid for our sins. The one who was tortured took on our suffering. He descended to the land of the dead to release all from death. Jesus’ death enabled his resurrection…and ours.

Today our world has grown darker than ever. We are surrounded by a culture of death. New reports of religious discrimination, persecution and martyrdom have become a daily occurrence. At home we face our own suffering and that of our loved ones through sickness, difficult relationships, job stress, broken dreams, and all the consequences of our sins.

In our valley of tears we often cry out, “Lord, you can do all things. Please take this cup from me!” Sometimes he does and sometimes, just as with Jesus, he does not.

Sometimes we are betrayed. Sometimes we are abused and made to suffer in painful ways. Sometimes we are condemned unjustly. Sometimes we look defeated.

In those times, we can be assured that he is waiting to give us something better: resurrection. “We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose” (Rom 8:28).

Our sufferings are our “way of the cross”. How appropriate it is that we, as members of Christ’s body, walk with him; indeed how can we be apart from him? “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23).

Paradoxically, when we embrace our cross we find that he is already carrying it with us. “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Mt 11:28-30).

Certainly the cross does not always feel light. Even Jesus fell three times under its weight. However, when we continue to come to him, he gives us the strength that we need for what he is calling us to do.

We find rest for our souls as we remember that this is our God: “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die” (Jn 11:25-26).

This is our hope. The days of the Easter Triduum remind us that all things, even suffering and death, are subject to Christ’s kingship. The tomb was not the end of Jesus’ story nor is it the end of ours. Rather it is a crucial step into the resurrection that our loving Father, our Abba, has for us too. Just as those in the land of the dead were released on Holy Saturday, so too will God release us into new life!

We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you, because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

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