May 23, 2011

An Easter to remember

We are still in the Easter Season, so Happy and Blessed Easter, everyone! :)

It was a rather tiring Easter for me. Having to sleep late and wake up early for 3 consecutive days wasn’t that easy anymore when age has caught up on me. I was among the 880 youths who came from both the city and rural parishes in the Archdiocese of Kuching to attend Easter “Triduum Spirituality” which started from the evening of Holy Thursday to Easter afternoon. We spent 4 days 3 nights with the Archbishop of Kuching. “Triduum Spirituality” was a series of talks given by our Archbishop on the meaning behind Easter Triduum, their importance in our Liturgy, and how we could apply the message of these historical events in our daily lives.

Participants at TS in a discussion.

Believe it or not, this Triduum Spirituality (TS) programme was initiated by His Grace Archbishop John Ha (Archbishop of Kuching) himself. I had a shock of my life when I heard that he wanted to spend Easter with the young people. As far as I’m concerned, I wouldn’t have doubted if it was Blessed John Paul II who made such a request, knowing very well that he loved the young people. Even the Youth Leaders were surprised! But after attending the TS Servants’ Retreat (as shared by some friends) and TS itself, we were all amazed… not at the great wisdom and knowledge our Archbishop has, but the great effort he has put into TS preparation, which showed how important this event was for him, and his humility. Even though he’s our bishop, he came down to our (the youths) level and communicated with us in our language!

His Grace Archbishop John Ha speaking to the youths during the TS sessions.
I love his smile here. :)

As the mystery behind Easter was unfolded by His Grace, I (and many of us) experienced a more meaningful Easter. Perhaps, this was the best Easter ever in our lives. As for me, I somewhat saw a glimpse of Blessed John Paul II in our Archbishop (apparently, I still miss JPII very much!). I’m very thankful for what he’s done for the young people in the Archdiocese. And from a discussion I had with some of the Youth Servant Leaders (who went for the retreat prior to TS), I got to know that the Archbishop is very concerned of the youths in our Archdiocese. (I shall blog on the problems we recently faced in our country in a later post.)

Here I’m sharing some of the notes which I’ve taken down during the TS talks, and I pray that you may find them useful.

Holy Thursday (21 April 2011)
  • What is Triduum Spirituality? – We willingly allow the Holy Spirit to guide us into remembering our Salvation.
  • Passover is the greatest event in the Old Testament – the Israelites were led out of Egypt into freedom. Paschal is the greatest event in the New Testament – by Christ’s death and resurrection, we are all saved.
  • To remember an event = to make a past event present. The Paschal event is made present today through the power of the Holy Spirit. Through the Holy Spirit, we are able to experience God’s tremendous love for us and Christ’s passion, death and resurrection.
  • Jesus changed the Jewish Passover meal into the Eucharistic meal, which is His own meal!
    • The Meal was instituted by Jesus so that His Apostles could experience what would happen the next day, i.e. His passion.
    • Jesus asked His Apostles to remember Him and His sacrifice of Himself for the salvation of mankind.
    • The greatest gift Jesus gave us is His own body and blood. Whenever we receive Jesus in the Eucharist, we experience God’s love for us.
  • When Jesus foretold His betrayal by Judas (Mk 14:17) at the Last Supper, His disciples asked Him, “Not me, surely?” (Mk14:19). The Twelve were not even sure if they themselves were to betray Jesus, because they were following Jesus in uncertainty. For them, Jesus was a political ‘messiah’ who came to free them from political powers (i.e. Rome).

Good Friday (22 April 2011)
  • The giving of the Body and Blood of Christ during Holy Saturday came into reality on Good Friday.
  • Why is Jesus called the “supreme high priest” (Heb 4:14)?
    • A priest – a person between God and man, the mediator who brings man to God and God to man.
    • In the person of Jesus, God and man are united (for Jesus is both God and human).
    • Jesus’ offering of Himself united (reconciled) us with (to) God.
  • During the arrest of Jesus at the Garden of Gethsemane: when the soldiers said they were looking for “Jesus the Nazarene” and Jesus answered “I am He” (or “I AM), He was saying that He is God, the same God who appeared to Moses in the Burning Bush (Ex 3:14).
  • The Cross is the sign of our salvation.
  • During the Veneration of the Cross, we are venerating Christ’s Cross, the one which Jesus died on more than 2000 years ago.

Holy Saturday (23 April 2011)
  • The meaning behind The Service of Light:
    • Before the world was created, there was darkness. So God brought forth light.
    • When man sinned, darkness came into the world.
    • God sent Jesus, who is the Light.
  • The Easter Candle symbolizes Christ, who is our light at the creation of the world until the end of time.
  • The significance of the baptismal pool:
    • When the candidate for baptism enters the baptismal water, he/she participates in the death of Christ. (the act of going down into the pool symbolizes one’s entry into the grave/death)
    • As the newly baptized came out of the water, he/she participates in the resurrection of Christ (the act of arising of the pool symbolizes one’s coming out of the grave into new life).
  • On Easter, the women went to the tomb very early in the morning because they were afraid to be seen. They met the resurrected Jesus, but they did not tell the Apostles that Jesus asked them to meet Him in Galilee.
  • Jesus started His ministry in Galilee, and He brought the Apostles all the way from Galilee to Jerusalem. After His Resurrection, Jesus brought the Apostles back to Galilee to start all over again.

Photos courtesy of Hobart Kho from the Empowered Youth Ministry. Used with permission.