Take Back Sunday!
Sep 30, 2019
Take back Sunday! This thought came to mind when reflecting upon last week's reading from the Book of the prophet Amos. Amos says, “'When will the new moon be over,' you ask, 'that we may sell our grain, and the sabbath, that we may display the wheat?'” In other words, the people of Israel couldn't be bothered by a day of rest, the Sabbath. In the words of Scripture scholar John Bergsma, “A striking feature of this...is the way these ancient Israelite merchants regard religion as an impediment to profit...The Sabbath, which God gave to man as a beautiful day of rest, to be enjoyed with family, friends, and God Himself, is now seen as a burden and restraint to the pursuit of profit.”
As we dive into this, perhaps it's good for us to remember that we keep holy the Lord's Day and not necessarily the Sabbath, which is Saturday. We keep holy the Lord's Day—Sunday—because it is the day of the Resurrection and “announces our eternal rest in God (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2175).” Additionally, I want to say that I am not accusing anyone of approaching the Lord's Day as the Israelites did as an impediment to profit and as burden. However, I know that Sunday is often anything but a day of rest in the Lord. Some must engage in necessary work which cannot be avoided—police officers, fire fighters, doctors, nurses, even priests. For many, it is a day of travel, of multiple activities, of shopping, of catching up on work around the house.
God knows our needs better than we ourselves know them. The Lord's Day is meant to be a day centered around the worship of God, which benefits us and in which we find rest. It is meant to be day spent with family, relatives, and friends; traditionally it was seen as a day to engage in charitable works and works of service to the sick and elderly. Sunday is meant to be a day of leisure. Jesus Christ's Resurrection is said to have occurred on the “eighth day” of the week, coming after the Jewish Sabbath and ushering in a new creation. Similarly, Sunday, the day of the Resurrection, is meant to re-create us, to make us new, but this can be done only in devoting that day to the Lord; to family, relatives, and friends; to the sick and elderly; and to leisure.
Again, this no accusation or judgment on anymore, but we should examine our lives in how we can better live out the Third Commandment to keep holy the Lord's Day. For more information about this topic, I recommend reading the paragraphs 2168-2188 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which can be found on the Vatican website (vatican.va) or the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops website (usccb.org) or simply in a paper copy of the Catechism. Have a great week!