The Triduum (from the Latin meaning Three Days) is often referred to as TheThree Great Days–Maundy Thursday–Good Friday-Easter Vigil. According to
this tradition there is a difference in the way we enter into the spirituality of Triduum and that of Easter Day. As we observe the Triduum we enter into the Paschal Mystery in which the passion-death-resurrection of Jesus Christ saves and redeems us. Easter Day is a celebration of utter joy and introduces the 50 days of Easter celebration.The Triduum is therefore a single, unitary celebration of the whole Paschal Mystery. It is not merely an historical rehearsal of a sequence of three events over three succeeding days but is a solemn entering into the saving mystery of the passion-death-resurrection-event in the life of Jesus. This is one event –we do not enter into Good Friday as those who do not know how this will end, and we do not enter in the resurrection as those who do not know where itbegan and how we got here. That is why there is this essential unity to The Three Days which is expressed in the fact that there is only one beginning and one ending to the liturgy of The Triduum.The unity of this single celebration is clearly shown in the structure of the
services. There is a Greeting at the start of the Maundy Thursday Eucharist,but no dismissal; no formal beginning or dismissal at the Good Friday devotions, and no greeting at the Service of Light that starts the Great Vigil of Easter. It is only at the end of the Vigil Service that the congregation join in the joyful dismissal that sends people out to love and serve the Lord with a great cry6 of "Alleluia! Alleluia!"In this single service we gather together to celebrate the complete drama of salvation into which we are invited. It is a gathering that celebrates the new commandment to love and serve one another, revealed by a Lord who washes the feet of the disciples, including Judas who betrayed him, and Peter who denied him, all played out in the context of the joyful celebration of the liberation of the people of God from the oppression of slavery in Egypt; a gathering of the people of God at the Cross as those who know the truth of the victory of our Lord over darkness, sin and rejection; a gathering of the people who join together to celebrate the resurrection of the Lord as those who have kept watch through his passion and greet him with joy on Easter morning.
I cannot do anything on my own; I judge as I hear, and my judgement is just, because I do not seek my own will but the will of the one who sent me."
Throughout the Gospels, one of the marks of Jesus’ leadership style is to deflect allcredit from himself. He comes proclaiming not himself but God and God’s reign. Heteaches in the manner of a Jewish rabbi, drawing upon the religious tradition andgiving his interpretation of it. And like any truly great teacher, Jesus does not expect
of his disciples blind obedience but rather a critical appropriation and even extensionof his teaching in their lives.
We might say that Jesus empowers his followers. This empowerment, however, hasnothing to do with self-empowerment, but its aim is that they – and we – empowerothers in turn. Knowledge, insight, wealth, political influence, all forms of empowerment in fact, are useless unless they are passed on to other. Not doing this is
not only selfish and a waste, but a sin. It is a sin against love, against the very point of empowerment, and it is also dangerous.
It is dangerous and sinful because it not only makes one too powerful and filled with the unhealthy spirit of pride and self-importance, but is disempowering of others,creating in them a sense of dependence and a culture of patronage in society. It createsa ‘Master-Servant’ mentality. In a society where great gaps exist between rich and poor, it breeds corruption at every level. A common feature of many countries that have low levels of corruption is an absence of such a mentality. If we consider states like Denmark, Sweden or New Zealand, they have a narrow gap between rich and poor and an absence of a culture of patronage. Beyond more equal opportunities, there is a culture of respect that transcends the gaps between leaders and led. Politicians generally do not treat citizens as ‘vote fodder’ but see themselves as public servants, genuinely interested in their constituents and ready to listen to them. (Those who don’t, find they have very short careers in politics). One of the many things we can say about the leadership style of Nelson Mandela is that, though he could be abrupt and even fairly authoritarian at times, he seemed
genuinely interested in ordinary people and truly desired their empowerment. Many recall how, when he spoke with them, it was as if they were the very centre of his attention, no matter their political affiliations, age, race, gender or social position. The story is told how in a telephone conversation he addressed Britain’s Queen as 'Elizabeth’ not out of a deliberate attempt to violate protocol, but ‘because’ he replied, ‘she calls me Nelson’. In his public speeches he frequently deflected his considerable achievements to others, emphasizing always that governance was a collective effort. He initiated a much greater transparency in policy making, inviting ordinary citizens to comment on proposed new laws, a practice that continues (even if most citizens don’s avail themselves of the opportunity). He was, in short, a generous leader.How many of us, I wonder, continue to trap ourselves in a patronage culture? How many of us will consider whether candidates are empowering or disempowering us when we go out to vote this year?
Reflection prepared by Anthony Egan SJ & Matthew Charlesworth SJ @mcharlesworth)
There can be no future without forgiveness
My name is Barnabas Sibusiso Nqindi, rector of St Barnabas-Bluff. I enjoy a good debate and I love to see people grow in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ