The Jews have a Passover meal they eat. Jesus ate one such meal on Holy Thursday. Then it’s said that the other Jews ate the Passover meal either on Tuesday or Friday that week. Do Catholics eat a Christian Passover meal (they sure don’t do it on Holy Thursday when they wash people’s feet)? On the other hand Catholica receive holy communion on Holy Thursday which have to do with Passover meal. But there is no holy Mass on Good Friday (even if Mass is linked with the crucifiction)
Every Mass is a “Christian Passover” so yes, we do celebrate it on Holy Thursday as well as every other day of the year - except Good Friday.
Some Jews use the solar calendar and others use the lunar calender. Passover fell on Thursday for some and Friday for others depending on what calendar they used.
Pope Benedict in his book Jesus of Nazareth (Part II) puts forward that the meal Jesus ate with his disciples wasn’t a passover meal in the jewish sense. Rather it was His Passover which he instituted that night.
This makes the most sense IMO, Holy Thursday was the first Mass, the first ‘Christian passover’. The entirety of the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus- is re-presented in every sacrifice of the Mass since. In this way the old was not abolished but fulfilled in Jesus and His salvific actions. As such Catholics don’t have a Passover meal in the Jewish sense, but when we take part in the liturgies of the Triduum from Holy Thursday to Easter Sunday we do something analogous in a sense to the Jewish celebration of Passover, albeit in a fuller and completed manner.
There is a similar meal among Eastern European Christians. It’s not liturgical but cultural. They eat special “Easter Foods” which are blessed on Holy Saturday. Meats, breads, cheeses, eggs, herbs are all part of the meal, and each one has its own symbolism.
If you do an internet search for something like “blessing of easter baskets” you’ll find a lot of information.
Liturgically speaking, our Passover Meal is the Easter Vigil Mass.
An interesting historical note is that the Jewish calendar was observational then and the day of the Passover could be properly chosen on one day or the next of the lunar calendar. So the choice may have been made to choose the next day when there was no execution (of Christ).
So Jesus ate the Passover meal on a day when the other Jews didn’t?
The Sabbath was move from Saturday to Sunday (it’s interesting how they know that we always counted seven days a week and never missed a day) and the Passover was moved to Easter Sunday?
Why is there no Mass on Good Friday?
The synoptic Gospels state that Jesus celebrate the Passover on Thursday night (Passover fell on Friday), and in the Gospel of John the Friday is “the day of preparation”. This is because there were two groups of Jews with different practices: Pharisees and Sadducees. The Sadducees, moved the Passover to Saturday, and celebrated the day of preparation on Friday, rather than on Thursday as Jesus and the apostles did. Jesus kept the Passover strictly in accord with Moses Exodus 12 as did the Pharisees. (See the The Navarre Study Bible - Gospel of Mark.)
Sunday is the Eighth Day of the Resurrection, and the times we live in are also the Eight Day.
No Mass on Good Friday:
The omission of the Mass proper marks in the mind of the Church the deep sorrow with which she keeps the anniversary of the Sacrifice of Calvary. Good Friday is a feast of grief. A black fast, black vestments, a denuded altar, the slow and solemn chanting of the sufferings of Christ, prayers for all those for whom He died, the unveiling and reverencing of the Crucifix, these take the place of the usual festal liturgy; while the lights in the chapel of repose and the Mass of the Presanctified is followed by the recital of vespers, and the removal of the linen cloth from the altar (“Vespers are recited without chant and the altar is denuded”).
Gilmartin, Thomas. “Good Friday.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 6. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1909.
“Christ, our Passover, has been sacrificed:
Come, let us feast with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.”
Christ instituted the first Mass on Maundy Thursday. He celebrated the Passover on the Friday, in that he himself was the Passover sacrifice sacrificed for us on Good Friday.
Every Sunday is a mini-Easter, celebrating this Passover of the new covenant. The Sabbath is still on Saturday: Sunday is the Lord’s Day, the eighth day, the first day of the new creation and new life.
Does Thursday evening count as Friday?
Liturgically speaking, the entire Easter Triduum (from Thursday evening until the Easter Vigil Mass on Saturday in the night) is considered one single liturgical day.
This very specific time is the exception to all the other norms and rules; and there are many things that happen (that particular way) only during that special time.
Good Friday Matins and Lauds is celebrated, in some places, on Thursday late (Tenebrae).
Pope Benedict XVI wrote: In the afternoon of Holy Thursday, the Triduum effectively begins with the commemoration of the Last Supper, at which Jesus instituted the Memorial of his Passover, complying with the Jewish Easter rite.
… Holy Thursday ends with Eucharistic Adoration, in memory of the Lord’s agony in the Garden of Gethsemane.
… On Good Friday we will commemorate the Passion and death of the Lord; we will worship the Crucified Christ, we will share in his suffering with penance and fasting.
… Lastly, on the night of Holy Saturday we shall celebrate the solemn Easter Vigil during which Christ’s Resurrection is proclaimed, his definitive victory over death which calls us to be new men and women in him.