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Three Holy Days

We enter the Paschal Triduum this evening — those holy three days from the Last Supper to the Day of Resurrection. How Thursday through Sunday is three, not four, days requires a Jewish understanding of days, which begin at sunset. Roman days began at midnight; Royal Navy days long began at Noon. But in Judaism — and consquently in the Christian ecclesiastical calendar, and in Islam — the day begins at sunset. Perhaps thats a matter of convenience — no sighting the noon sun and calculating 12 horus forward or backwards, no making sure everyone is up at dawn to witness the sunrise. But it's also a profound theological message: the day begins in darkness, just as the very first day of creation began, in darkness without form. Dr Ismar Schorsch, of the The Jewish Theological Seminary, writes: "When envisioned as the start of a new day, night loses its dread. It becomes a time of preparation, renewal and anticipation, a period of incubation before a new birth. Life is punctuated by all too many moments of defeat and despair....To launch our days at night is to muster the courage not to take refuge in denial."

miracles of love and hope. This was true two thousand years ago, and it is true in our lives still.

Delores Dufner, OSB, wrote a hymn for the Triduum back in the mid-90's, one which I loved to sing when I was an ordinand. As we walk through this triduum together, online or in church, let us remember amidst the darkness that Jesus' story is, by his grace and invitation, our own: Three holy days enfold us now in washing feet and breaking bread, in cross and font and life renewed; in Christ, God's firstborn from the dead. The mystery hid from ages past is here revealed in word and sign, for Jesus' story is our own: new life through death is God's design.


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