The Good, The Bad, and The Beautiful

“Christians are too much Easter Sunday and Catholics are too much Passion Friday.”

A saying that circulates among religious critics in various social circles, but one that is not altogether false. It is easy for any follower of Christ to get caught up in the catharsis of either day.

On the one hand, if we were to focus solely on the sadness and tragedy of the death of our Savior, the God made man, our outlook on life becomes bleak and dismal, as if life is nothing but a tragic destruction of all that is good and true in the world. The world becomes one that has no place even for God. This is not to say that Christ’s suffering should be downsized at all – but if all we focus on is the passion, then the very reasoning behind his suffering becomes only an afterthought. The emphasis placed on Passion Friday becomes disproportionate.

On the other hand, to focus only on the good, and push away or repress the unpleasant experiences of the past can be called,inonesense,irresponsible. Regardless of what good things may come our way in life (what’s more, the greatest goods Christ gave us) we must remember the unpleasantness that played a mandatory part in the actuality of the good we are currently enjoying. There is no good story without obstacles for the hero to overcome to reach his goal.

In short: We cannot have Resurrection Sunday without Passion Friday, and vice versa.

Christ Himself is a living testimony of this fact insofar as even His glorified body bears the five marks left by His crucifixion.

We are all fortunate enough to belong to the Chaldean Rite, the liturgy of which constantly reminds us in almost every hymn and prayer of the connection and irreplaceability of each of the days of the Triduum (Passion Friday, Saturday of Light, and Resurrection Sunday). In its numerous reflections and meditations, it unveils just how each of the three days completes and intensifies the others.

“Death is brought down and Life arises; Sheol is shut closed and Baptism opened; the Left Hand is deserted and the Right Hand thunders.”

Even the colors used for the three days in the Chaldean liturgical tradition is a testimony to these three climactic — and even Trinitarian — days of Salvation History.

In the Latin Rite, the traditional color used for the feast of Easter is white, symbolizing the gloriously pure body of the resurrected Jesus. According to the Chaldean Rite though, the traditional colors for the Triduum are red with gold, and gold with red — red being a symbol for the blood of the passion, and gold the glory of God.

The combination of the two colors serves to remind us on Passion Friday and Holy Saturday, that amidst all the blood we see our Savior suffer through, that it is not for naught. We are left with a trim of golden hope that not all will end with death and darkness. Death does not have the final say.

Similarly on Easter Sunday, when we celebrate the reopening of the gates of Heaven, the death of death, the defeat of sin, and the very apex of the liturgical year, we will not experience the disconnect between it and the two previous days of toil and loss that lead us to this point.

With that being said, the Chaldean Catholic Diocese of Saint Peter the Apostle wishes all of its faithful a blessed season of Qyampta. May we all find the strength in Christ’s Resurrection to forgive all the wrongs suffered in the past, and to remember that without them we would be unable to experience the totality of all there is to be joyful for today.