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, Ms. Lillian, and give her communion. She was quite elderly, her mind was beginning to fail and for these reasons it was difficult for her 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 Ms. 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 Ms. Lillian…It’s Sunday.” 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), and 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.”
I thought of Ms. Lillian when I saw this video. I hope you will enjoy a little wisdom from the “Black Church.” Good preaching, good reminders, powerful video.
11 Replies to “It’s Friday, But Sunday is Coming – As seen in a life and in a video”
Thank you for another lovely blog entry. Friday is the day I go to confession, I fast and typically don’t eat meat, in honor of the one who suffered on Good Friday.
And that video was nice. It had all the dignity and passion that are the best qualities of African Americans. I say this because I grew up in a Black area during my teen years when my father lost his money) and it was a rare privilege. It’s hard to explain exactly why it was a privilege, but it was. Especially getting to know some older people who had come of age before the Civil Rights days. They had survived a lot of indignities but generally weren’t bitter and angry.
Nice video. Since it is Friday night, we have meditated on the sorrowful mysteries as we prayed the rosary. I was struck again by Jesus’ intense suffering and pain for the salvation of souls.
I feel like I’m in the Friday part of my life, but I always remind myself that Jesus’s suffering and death preceded His resurrection, winter precedes spring, night precedes dawn, and labor pains precede the birth of a long-awaited baby.
I’m so grateful for my faith, and for God’s Word.
Romans 8: 18 – I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.
Amen! I first learned the Friday – Sunday connection from the Christian singer Carman. The title of the song is, “If it seems like Friday Night, Sunday’s on the Way! Now, I, too, use it in my homilies, especially at Holy Week. Great video! Thanks Monsignor!
Amen towords of Fr.Branson and Msgr ; may the soul of Lillian and all others in our lives, be in the Perpetual Sunday , of His light and love and blessings , loving us too ..and those who are in the Friday’s , have the comfort of The Lord and His Mother ,as they plead for new hearts , for any and all who might be the cause of the Firdays , trusting that The Spirit , who can cast off mountains , into the depth of His mercy ,will do so, even in an instant .
May such be also the fate of the mountains of deception too , that comes as promise of heaven , by going against His truth – that every human life, originates and is sustained in His love , that heaven itself is His holy will , that any act against the dignity of life , is a direct negation of the choice of heaven too !
And may there be peace, in lands of the ancestors of Lillian and all of us too, from knowing the Father ‘s love , in and by The Cross !
both blog and video
But Father, sin had not won, as it says in the video, because love, faith and hope were still alive in the heart of Mary.
Alright, but allow a few hyperbolic flourishes when listening to preaching. I once remember Bishop Sheen, who LOVED flourishes, speak of Christ reciting Psalm 22 on the Cross: “God is an atheist!…”
Father it’s stories like these that remind me why I love you so much to stick around here and browbeat you when I think you’re way off. You’re absolutely right that the sight of her priest brought her to Sunday where she hath laid her treasure. Beautiful. If there is anything the traditionalist wing (whether you would put yourself there or not I think it’s a fairly consistent label with your writing) is bang on about over-and-against the progressives it’s that Fatherhood and Motherhood are real institutions – and the vocation for all of us who reach maturity – and that strong Fatherhood and strong Motherhood will breed strong Families that will go on to make this world as much like the world-to-come as is possible here and now.
On the other hand I think there is an unhealthy tendency in this line of thinking to overemphasize the hardships of this earthly life – undoubtedly it is a struggle the whole way and full of Golgotha’s – but the point is to Incarnate as much as possible the Divine Will here and now in this space and in this time cooperating with grace to help build up the kingdom – and if it should deign Providence to make this life enjoyable as much as is possible I think it would be very Catholic of us to make room for accepting abundance. Satan enjoys scarcity, rivalry, morbid ascetiscm, legalism, institutionalism, Pharaseeism, older brotherism, etc – we would all be very unhappy and miserable if that Spirit had his way – and he often tries to bring in his Powers and Principalities into Christ’s Church as is so obvious throughout history.
While there is middle ground between universalism and pessimism, I don’t think you stake out that middle ground very well at all in your comments at this blog. It is the Biblical text itself that calls us to sobriety and I’ll stick with the Biblical text and Jesus’ own words over modern notions any day.
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