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It’s Friday, But Sunday’s Coming – A Meditation on the Journey Up Yonder

July 7, 2011

Some years ago in a previous parish assignment, St. Thomas More, in Washington DC, I was accustomed to take a Friday afternoon walk to focus on my homily for Sunday. At the beginning of the walk I’d often stop by the nearby house of an elderly parishioner, Lillian, and give her communion. She was quite elderly, her mind was beginning to fail and for these reasons it was difficult to get to Church. In mild weather she often be in her wheel chair on the front porch and, as I’d walk up she’d say, “Oh Father! It must be Sunday!” “No, Lillian,” I’d usually say, “It’s actually Friday.” And she’d usually say, “Oh, I’m sorry to hear that.”

I was thinking of the calendar most times I answered her, but she she was long past worrying what day the world said it was. And so, Friday after Friday, as I’d stop by she kept asking if it was Sunday. Friday it was, but she kept looking for Sunday. “Is it Sunday, Father?”…. “No Ms. Lillian, today is Friday.”

The world has a saying: “Thank God, it’s Friday.” But in the Church, especially among African Americans whom I serve, there is an older expression: “It may be Friday, but Sunday’s coming.” It is a thoroughly Biblical reflection wherein Friday represents our sufferings, our own “Good Fridays” and Sunday represents our rising from the dead, our joy and the fulfillment of our hopes.

When Lillian saw her priest, she thought of Sunday, she thought of Jesus and Holy Communion. So, in a way for her it was Sunday, for a moment. But, to be sure, Lillian was in the Friday of her life. She had all the crippling effects of old age: dementia, arthritis, weakness, hearing and eyesight problems, sugar, and you name it. “I’s gotten ooooold, Father.” Yes, Friday had surely come for Lillian.

At her funeral I could think of no other way to begin the homily than to say, “It’s Sunday Lillian.” And the congregation nodded, some just hummed, others said, “Thank you Jesus.” Lillian had gone to Jesus and Sunday had come. Surely she, like all of us, needed some of the cleansing purgation wherein the Lord wipes away the tears of all who have died (cf Rev 21:4) lifts the burdens of our sorrows, regrets and sins for the last time. For those who die in the Lord, die in the care of the Lord. The souls of the just are in the hand of God (Wis 3:1).

Yes, Sunday, glorious Sunday, for all those who trust in the Lord. The Fridays of life will come but if we trust, Sunday will surely follow.

“Oh, Father! It must be Sunday!” ….”Yes, Ms. Lillian, it is surely Sunday.”

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  1. Andrew says:

    Great post, Msgr. Pope. Thank you.

    Another empty phrase the world offers is “Happy Friday”. While people may mean no ill will in using this (probably just an indication of their being “happy” it’s the last day of the typical five-day work week), I refrain from using it, and believe we Christians should avoid using it as well. Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ died on Good Friday. And so are not the other Friday’s of the year “a little” Good Friday? And they are days of penance.

    I would like to know what would be a charitable and envangelizing response to the “Happy Friday” wish.

  2. Lorraine Withers says:

    Dear Father,

    Your post brought tears to my eyes. God bless you for sharing your spiritual “self”.

  3. Nguyen Thuong MInh says:

    Epistle 190
    My some ideas of “the homily” of Msgr. Charles Pope are here below:
    Firstly, in the homily, Msgr. Charles Pope said that today is Friday afternoon (8 July 2011), but Monsignor must walk to think on homily for Sunday (10 July 2011).
    But in the homily, Friday also means Good Friday before Easter Sunday.
    “Good Friday before Easter Sunday” is the day on which Christians remember the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
    “Easter Sunday” is the Sunday on which Jesus rose from the dead on the third day after his crucifixion.
    According to first meaning, today’s Friday afternoon, Monsignor thinks on homily for next Sunday.
    Next Sunday’s homily (10 July 2011) will talk about “the Parable of the Sower”.
    You can read “the Parable of the Sower” in Matthew 13:3-9, Mark 4:3-9, Luke 8:5-8.
    Secondly, now permit me to add some issues in the homily hereafter:
    “The Parable of the Sower” was preached by just Lord Jesus in Matthew 13: 18-23, Mark 4:13-20, Luke 8:11-15.
    Gist of Lord Jesus’ preaching is that if you want to understand why certain seeds were eaten up by birds, other seeds were scorched and withered, other seeds were choked, but other seeds produced much fruits, then you must read aforesaid Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke in English or in Vietnamese language.
    Or you must attend Sunday’s Mass in your parish church because Lord Jesus said “Whoever has ears ought to hear”./.

  4. Caeli Francisco says:

    I also cried upon reading and listening. I’ve just e-mailed a letter to a friend, which is about meeting Jesus at the foot of thecross for all that is mentioned in this song. Thank you for sharing Msgr, Jesus loves you, his worthy servant.