In the last part of the homily (when a homily can be written into 3 blog posts, you can imagine its length – fortunately the quality atoned for the length), the priest asked, ‘after the Good Friday, what next?’ After the crucifixion, no doubt the disciples of Jesus have doubts: ‘Is it wrong to believe in Him? Is this the end?’
We, who live approximately 2,000 years after the historic event of crucifixion, can surely answer that they were not wrong, that it was not the end. We know that the sorrow and despair in Friday would soon be replaced by a jubilant joy in Sunday.
Yet do we not have our own doubts? Yes, we know that Christ is risen, but do we not have other doubts? I do not know about you, but for me, recently I have often felt that I am a Christian (at least striving to be one) living in a post-Christian era (or perhaps more appropriately, a post-faith era)1. Do you not feel that the world, the global culture is going to one direction and the Church is going to exactly another direction? Do you not, at least sometimes, ask yourself whether it is still relevant to believe in Christ? To believe in God? Then surely, we can relate to the disciples’ doubts during that bleak Saturday?
Instead of chiding us for having such doubts, or offering an easy consolation, the priest exclaimed that what will happen next depends on us. Do you feel that the world considered Christ irrelevant? Well, do you show that He is relevant to you? As Aslan said to Lucy in the Chronicles of Narnia, ‘if (the others) will not, then you at least must follow me alone.’
There is no easy consolation for us, but there is hope. If we now have many doubts, it is because we are living on a Saturday. Our hope, then, is that Sunday is coming. And as St Paul assured us, this hope is not deceptive.
This part of the homily reminds me of a short article written by Philip Yancey. Below is an excerpt of the article. The original article can be found in the archive of Our Daily Bread by RBC, and also in the preface of the NIV – the Knowing Jesus Study Bible.
A friend of mine knows an elderly pastor who delivered a stirring Good Friday sermon titled “It’s Friday, but Sunday’s Comin’.” In a cadence that increases in tempo and volume, his sermon contrasts how the world looked on Friday—when the forces of evil seemed to have triumphed—with how it looked on Sunday. The disciples who lived through both days never doubted God again. They learned that when God seems most absent, He may be closest of all.
The sermon skips one day, though—Saturday—the day with no name. What the disciples lived through in small scale, we now live through on cosmic scale. It’s Saturday on planet earth; will Sunday ever come?
That dark, Golgothan Friday can only be called good because of what happened on Sunday. Easter opened up a crack in a universe winding down toward decay. And someday God will enlarge the miracle of Easter to cosmic scale.
Meanwhile, we wait in hopeful anticipation, living out our days on Saturday, the in-between day with no name.
It’s Saturday. But Sunday’s comin’. —Philip Yancey
1 I admit that I am rather out of date, for at least in the 1960s C.S. Lewis already said this, and Hans Urs von Balthasar perhaps even before.