June 16, 2021
Sunday: The First of Days
From the days of the apostles, the Christian community has set Sunday apart from the other days. At first, it was the day of worship on which the first Christians gathered for the “breaking of the bread”. Over time it also became the official day of rest in civic life. This pairing of worship and rest has shaped the rhythm of the week for much of Western civilization to this day.
In a 1998 apostolic letter to the Church, Dies Domini (“The Day of the Lord”), Pope St. John Paul II offers a few ways to understand how Christians should approach Sunday. “Sunday is the day of joy and the day of rest precisely because it is ‘the Lord’s Day’, the day of the Risen Lord.” (82). The popular cultural expression “Sunday Funday” is only truly possible because our joy and rest (and truly our “fun”) derive from our life in Jesus Christ.
Sunday: Day of the Lord
It was on the 7th day that God rested and so too should we. But this rest isn’t simply for its own sake: God rested on the 7th day to reflect upon what had been created and to affirm its goodness. Sunday is our opportunity to reflect upon our past week, our successes and failures at discipleship, and to bring our life to the altar of God at Mass.
Sunday: Day of Days
Sunday is the first and last day of the week, just as Christ is both alpha and omega, beginning and end. Jesus’ resurrection on “the first day of the week” gives us all the reason we need to mark Sunday as holy. As the eighth day, Sunday also reminds us of the goal of eternal life…something to ponder in quiet moments on a restful Sunday
Sunday: Day of the Eucharist
While the celebration of Mass on Sunday is not different than on other days, because the entire Church comes together and because it is celebrated on the day of the Resurrection, the Sunday Eucharist is the center of life in the Christian community. Our parish gathers each Sunday to celebrate the Eucharist, to give thanks for all the gifts God has given to us
Things to think about:
- How do I treat Sunday differently than the other six days of the week?
- How do I keep holy the Lord’s day?
- What could my family and/or I do to observe Sunday in a special way?
This article is part of Together, an Archdiocese of Cincinnati initiative to catechize the faithful on the importance of Mass, the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, the value of Sunday, our obligation to worship, and the advantage of being together physically rather than virtually.