No Mass is permitted on Good Friday, or during the day on Holy Saturday. The tabernacle is empty. The Church experiences the strange silence and emptiness of the first Good Friday. The Lord has been taken away. To love one another, we must be able to enter the other’s emptiness. Good Friday is also the day that the Lord gave us the greatest example of forgiveness. And He was a victim of capital punishment. It is a day to renew our determination to work for alternatives to those countries that support the death penalty and alternatives to war.
The Day of Days is Easter. The Easter Vigil cannot begin before dark, because the Church wants to dramatize the fact that darkness (symbolizing sin and death) is conquered by light (symbolizing the Risen Christ). “Christ our Light!” the priest proclaims. “Thanks be to God!” the people respond. Thanks, indeed, because the victory belongs to Life! Don’t let anything take that Easter joy from you!
On Holy Thursday, Mass is not permitted without a congregation. It is the day on which the Lord gave the commandment of brotherly love, and gave us the Eucharist, which establishes communion among brothers and sisters. The washing of the feet reveals the meaning of the Eucharist and the cross: He laid down his life for us; so we must lay down our lives for one another. The Triduum teaches us, then, that it is our business when someone is unemployed, or being discriminated against. It is our business, because the business of a Christian is love.