Can you imagine if all Catholic hospitals shut down on Sunday? Sorry, your ER visit must wait until Monday! How absurd would it be to stop helping and healing others because our 3rd Commandment says to “keep holy the Lord’s Day.” That is how absurd it was for the Pharisees and Herodians to think they could accuse Jesus of “healing on the Sabbath” as a means to put him to death.
While in Jerusalem in 2018, I was able to witness the strict adherence by the Jewish faithful to honor the “Shabbat” (Sabbath, Saturday) as they do no manual labor at work or home, to the point of not using ovens or other appliances in the home. While the strict rules are part of the Jewish culture, the intent behind the “law” or “commandment” should be embraced by Catholics and other Christians also.
Why is Sunday set aside as a “day of rest” In our Catholic tradition? Don’t we enjoy spending time with those that love us? We celebrate birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, and other personal milestones with those we love, who are close to our hearts. Now consider our God, who created us out of love, gave us His Son as the ultimate sacrifice of love, and fills us with the Holy Spirit, who is the essence of the love between the Father and the Son? Our lives would be meaningless and incomplete if it weren’t for the love we receive from the Holy Trinity. Considering this, why wouldn’t we set aside time to honor our loving God. The best way to honor Him is to worship Him at the Sunday Mass and spend time with our loved ones enjoying all the blessings the Lord has provided.
Taking "our sabbath rest" is a way of expressing honor to God for all that he has done for us in and through Jesus Christ our Lord and Redeemer. Such "rest" however does not exempt us from our love for our neighbor. If we genuinely love the Lord more than anything else, then the love of God will overflow to love of neighbor as well. That is why performing acts of charity in the neighborhood, at Church, and the community also often take place on a Sunday.
Try re-arranging yours and your family’s schedule such that Sunday is kept “holy,” and all the other priorities must be fit into the other six days of the week. Sound impossible or unrealistic? If you do this, you will find how much more joyful your life can be.
Today’s Question for Prayer and Reflection:
Do you honor the Lord in the way you celebrate Sunday, the Lord's Day and in the way you treat you neighbor?