Friday of Sorrows

Homily for Friday of the 5th Week of Lent

In many Latin American countries, it is a tradition in the Church to remember the Blessed Mother under the title of Our Lady of Sorrows in a particular way on this Friday before Palm Sunday. In those countries, today is known as the Friday of Sorrows. It takes place exactly one week before Good Friday and is meant to bring to mind the emotional agony that the Passion of Jesus caused our Blessed Mother.

It is customary for people to setup altars to the Virgin of Sorrows on this day, often decorating them with candles, flowers, and a variety of foods. At dawn, men also give flowers to the women in their families. So, it’s somewhat of a beautiful tradition that recognizes the great sorrow that filled Mary’s heart as she witnessed the death of her son upon the Cross. I think the mothers among us are the ones who can, in a special way, understand the great suffering that Mary endured on that first Good Friday.

Prior to the revision of the Mass following the Second Vatican Council, all of the Roman Rite commemorated the Blessed Mother on this day. For whatever reason, that was removed from the liturgical calendar after the Council. But, if you noticed, in 2002, an optional Opening Prayer was added to the Roman Missal for this day that called to mind the Blessed Mother, which I used this morning.

Today, we begin Passion week, the holiest and most solemn week within the tradition of our faith. Our first reading from the Prophet Jeremiah somewhat points to the events that are going to be taking place over the next week. The Jews will be the ones who denounce Jesus, who will seek to put Him to death because they didn’t recognize who He was as the Savior and Messiah. But even in the midst of the heartache and suffering that will come in the days ahead, the promise still stands that God will never abandon those whom He loves…He rescues the lives of the poor from the power of the wicked.

As we begin this Passiontide, let’s call to mind those areas of our lives where we are enduring some kind of hardship or suffering. As difficult as it can be to walk through those moments, we have to cling more firmly each day to Jesus. He is our hope and we can be certain that He and His Mother are with us because they, too, endured incredible suffering. So today, on this Friday of Sorrows, may we ask the Lord and His mother to be our companions, that they might comfort us in our moments of sorrow and pain.

Image: L’Amato Volto, Esparco86. Wikimedia. Used under the Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0) Creative Commons license.

Published by Fr. Tom Pringle

Priest of the Diocese of Orlando. Parochial Vicar at Holy Family Catholic Church, Orlando.

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