TGIF . . . Who has not heard that expression of weekly survival signaling weekend revival? My research indicates that the expression coalesced from the popular celebrations of the completion of another work week followed by the reward of another weekend. I am personally amused that this popular expression, with God at its very center, would have become such an integral part of American life, eventually, of course, succumbing to the pervasively twisted rush to remove God from everywhere and everything. Today, most still consider TGIF by its original Thank God It’s Friday but, increasingly and not surprisingly, we are seeing the pathetic Thank Goodness It’s Friday, Thank Gosh, It’s Friday, or some other sad variation. It is not so much that the variations in question are horrible; they would have been acceptable had they been the original versions. What I personally find pathetic and offensive is how they represent yet another pitiful swipe at God. So pervasive has the trivialization of this expression become that it has gone on to be used, albeit in mutated form, for representing everything from a popular restaurant chain to a television show lineup.
However, I am not here to present a discussion about a popular expression or a food place as much as to point out a great irony about Friday. On a secular level, Friday is overrated but, on a Catholic level, Friday is often underrated.
On a secular level, people act as if Friday is the greatest thing since sliced bread. The day represents the great escape from the chains of the work week to the paradise of the weekend. In a sense, Fridays are the days the working masses get to act out, however briefly and superficially, their rebellious actualization of the smoldering resentments built up during the previous week of serfdom. Symbolically, the day begins with the pains of yet another commute seemingly no different than Monday yet, this time around, simmering with a rising anticipation of a larger release than that granted on other day of the week in a weekly routine so grim that Wednesday has gotten its own popularity as the half-time to freedom.
Supposedly, Friday is a day which allows people to hang out, socialize, unload, and let off some steam. In a sense, from a secular perspective, the day benefits from an almost unfair advantage over every other day except, perhaps, Saturday. It is, in a real sense, the spring of the week for, just as any spring seems glorious after the typical winter, so too any Friday seems like emancipation day after the usual work week. In brief, a terrible Friday, to this world, seems way better than even the best Monday one could conjure. This popularity has spread from movie nights to weddings.
So, we get it; Friday is a secular holy day of obligation but, believe it or not, Good Friday is not a Catholic one, which has spurred many mindless efforts to downplay the significance of that very special day. These efforts are mindless, of course, because there cannot be a holy day of obligation on a day where there is no Mass!
On a Catholic level, Friday should be held in very high regard, not just on Good Friday but, because of what Good Friday represents, on every Friday of the week. In my mind, Friday is the quintessential Catholic day for, through its maximum expression of Good Friday, this day represents the essence of what it means to be Catholic in today’s world. If Catholicism is about anything today, it is the message that being a Christian, being a Catholic, is humanly difficult but heavenly rewarding. The Friday message is that our journey as followers of Christ is not about the adoring crowds of Palm Sunday, nor merely about the joy of Easter. Those messages are pleasant, hopeful and, in the case of Easter especially, joyful and inspiring. Certainly, there is nothing wrong with celebrating Easter, for it represents our future as returning pilgrims, refugees, and prodigal children coming back home. Clearly, Palm Sunday reminds us that Christ’s message attracts hungry souls. However, what does Friday tell us about both of these days and, in the process, about our Faith and our journey to Christ?
Friday reminds us that the previous Saturday’s popularity, celebration, and welcome are earthly, superficial traps. We can enjoy socializing, celebrating, and basking in earthly popularity to a point, but let us not forget that these things are temporary, shallow, and flimsy. The evil one wants us to place our hopes, aspirations, goals, and dreams on such foolish ground. Friday reminds us that the powerful glory of Sunday does not come without a price, without suffering, or without sacrifice. Great as Sunday is, we do not reach it without the ransom paid on Friday. At its very essence, Friday reminds us that the true follower of Christ earns his bones in his or her Via Dolorosa and Calvary. We are all called to carry our crosses and, in fact, to embrace and even dare I say, love, our crosses as our tools of the trade. The Sacred Carpenter carried His wooden cross to save us, and we, His struggling followers, are asked to carry our modern crosses to represent, to communicate His ultimate sacrifice to this weekend world resentfully locked in a weekday prison. Ironically, our crosses are our keys to salvation.
The true follower of Christ sees Calvary as the portal to paradise; the reminder that the superficiality of this world blows away before the sacred breeze of God’s truth. We are called to be fools for Christ, mocked and persecuted and hung out to dry beneath this world’s pathetic standards, if we are to truly follow the Master we claim to know. Friday is not for the squeamish, the weekend Catholic, or the Catholic who sees his or her faith as a workday routine. It is, ultimately, the quintessential Catholic day. As one lucky enough to have been born on a Friday, I proudly say, “Thank God, It’s Friday”.
Copyright. 2013. Gabriel Garnica. All Rights Reserved.