Dies Domini 24-25: The Day of the New Creation

With these two sections, John Paul II looks at “The day of the new creation.” He cites Jewish/Christian connections in the Scriptures. Linking the Creation account with the Christological hymn of the letter to the Colossians.

24. A comparison of the Christian Sunday with the Old Testament vision of the Sabbath prompted theological insights of great interest. In particular, there emerged the unique connection between the Resurrection and Creation. Christian thought spontaneously linked the Resurrection, which took place on “the first day of the week”, with the first day of that cosmic week (cf. Gn 1:1 – 2:4) which shapes the creation story in the Book of Genesis: the day of the creation of light (cf. 1:3-5). This link invited an understanding of the Resurrection as the beginning of a new creation, the first fruits of which is the glorious Christ, “the first born of all creation” (Col 1:15) and “the first born from the dead” (Col 1:18).

A similar connection might be made with the incarnation as well–that’s fairly obvious (cf. the prologue of John’s Gospel, the opening verses of the Pentateuch and 1 John.)

Sunday moves to primacy because of the importance of the sacramental life we have in Christ:

25. In effect, Sunday is the day above all other days which summons Christians to remember the salvation which was given to them in baptism and which has made them new in Christ. “You were buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead” (Col 2:12; cf. Rom 6:4-6). The liturgy underscores this baptismal dimension of Sunday, both in calling for the celebration of baptisms — as well as at the Easter Vigil — on the day of the week “when the Church commemorates the Lord’s Resurrection”,(Rite of Baptism of Children, No. 9; cf. Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, No. 59) and in suggesting as an appropriate penitential rite at the start of Mass the sprinkling of holy water, which recalls the moment of Baptism in which all Christian life is born.(Cf. Roman Missal, Rite of Blessing and Sprinkling of Holy Water.)

I’m not sure all liturgists and theologians would see the Sprinkling Rite as penitential–it’s clearly more baptismal. At any rate the suggestion is spot on that such an expression is wholly appropriate for Sunday Mass.

The Vatican site has Dies Domini in its entirety.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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