We know that, as Catholics, we have a duty to attend Mass on Sundays, but did you know that Mass is only one part of our Lord’s Day celebration?
Recently on The Inner Life®, Fr. Dennis Cooney stopped by to share what the Lord’s Day is and why rest should be an important component of our Sunday celebration. Fr. Cooney said:
“The Lord’s Day builds on the Jewish Sabbath Day … The Sabbath Day was the culmination of the week, it was a day of rest, it was consecrated to the Lord, it was a day when we concentrated on living our lives as opposed to making a living.
Remember that the word holy means to set apart, to separate it from the everyday, the ordinary, the profane. So that day was consecrated, and still is according to Orthodox Jews, in a very special way.
The Lord’s Day is no longer the Sabbath Day, it is the first day of the week, it is Sunday. Why? That’s when the New Creation took place. Now, this is extremely significant; the sign that Christianity is the completion of Judaism, but also the initiation of a whole new, final, and definitive stage of salvation. The Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 1166 says:
The day of Christ’s Resurrection is both the first day of the week, the memorial of the first day of creation, and the “eighth day,” on which Christ after his “rest” on the great sabbath inaugurates the “day that the Lord has made,” the “day that knows no evening.”
Therefore, Sunday is the celebration of the beginning of the New Creation, but it is also an anticipation of that ‘day that knows no evening,’ the day of the New Heaven and the New Earth – which has begun with the Resurrection and will be completely communicated to the rest of Creation when Christ Himself comes at the end of time.
The Lord’s Day is extremely important, and one of the tragedies of our own day and age is that we treat the Lord’s Day, Sunday, as simply another day of the week. It’s not, it’s meant to be holy, it’s meant to be different, it’s meant to be set apart, it’s meant to be the day in which we really enter into a deeper communion, and appreciation, and worship of the Lord. But also we enter into communion with each other. It’s a family day par excellence.
I also think we need to understand the term rest in the Biblical sense. Remember in the book of Genesis, in which it depicts all of Creation taking place within the week, what does God do on the last day? He rests. That’s why it’s a Sabbath day, that’s why it’s a holy day. Well, obviously God doesn’t need to physically rest, He doesn’t have a physical body. The rest of God is the appreciation and enjoyment of what He has created. And that is the great call for all of us, to not simply make a living, but to live our life and appreciate the life we have been given – the natural life that we have, but also (more importantly) the new life that He’s given us through His life, death, resurrection, and the Church. That’s what it is, it’s a celebration of the gift of human and divine life.
It is not just simply another day to make a living, but a day to really live a life.”
Listen to the full reflection below: