Photocredits to Enjuley Evers
As a kid, Sundays seemed kind of boring.
Sunday meant mass in the morning, which I never protested, but found dull. Though still the weekend, the evening held none of the delights that Friday and Saturday nights held, those of a later bedtime, a family movie or games night. Thinking back though, generally, my parents did make Sunday a day of rest; we’d go to mass, have a leisurely brunch listening to CBC radio, sometimes followed by a walk or hike. When I moved away to university, Sunday often became my chore day. The grocery shopping, cleaning and meal preparation that I’d put off the rest of the week took priority as I’d hurry to get organized before another week of classes.
Keeping Sunday holy is important- so important in fact, that it’s the third commandment! I encourage reading about why it is important to make Sundays special in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, but I’ll mention a couple key points.
First, God modeled this day of rest. “God's action is the model for human action. If God 'rested and was refreshed' on the seventh day, man too ought to 'rest' and should let others, especially the poor, 'be refreshed.' The Sabbath brings everyday work to a halt and provides a respite. It is a day of protest against the servitude of work and the worship of money” (CCC, 2172). Second, on Sundays we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. Jesus rose on the first day of the week, “For Christians it has become the first of all days, the first of all feasts, the Lord's Day” (CCC, 2174). In the last year, making a dedicated effort to live Sundays differently has been one of several things I’ve done to try to follow the liturgical year more closely.
I’d like to propose three ways to keep Sundays holy: worship, serve and celebrate.
Attending Sunday mass is the most important thing you can do to keep Sundays holy and the best way to worship God. I recommend trying your best to attend mass on Sunday, rather than a vigil mass on Saturday. Though the vigil mass fulfills your Sunday obligation, I think Sunday mass attendance helps us to recognize that the mass is the center of the day, rather than something to get out of the way. If Sunday mass is already your norm, then adding an act of devotion could help to make your Sundays more focused, perhaps making a commitment to praying the rosary, making a visit to an adoration chapel, or doing some spiritual reading.
As quoted above, the Catechism instructs us, to let others be refreshed on Sunday, especially the poor. It is a great day to serve the poor, or to write to or visit friends or family who are lonely or ill.
Finally, Sunday being the day of the resurrection, warrants celebration! Remember our reason for hope, remember that we are an Easter people, and celebrate the gift of salvation! Make special meals, eat and drink with friends and family, do things that bring you joy!
In a society that often treats Sunday as any other day, making a change can be difficult. However, worshiping, serving and celebrating, can help you to keep Sunday holy, and help you to live more truly the “first of all days, the first of all feasts, the Lord’s day”.