This chapter (DD 74-80) will find us in the liturgical context, and take us through to the concluding sections. So we’re in the home stretch … almost.
75. Since Sunday is the weekly Easter, recalling and making present the day upon which Christ rose from the dead, it is also the day which reveals the meaning of time. It has nothing in common with the cosmic cycles according to which natural religion and human culture tend to impose a structure on time, succumbing perhaps to the myth of eternal return. The Christian Sunday is wholly other! Springing from the Resurrection, it cuts through human time, the months, the years, the centuries, like a directional arrow which points them towards their target: Christ’s Second Coming. Sunday foreshadows the last day, the day of the Parousia, which in a way is already anticipated by Christ’s glory in the event of the Resurrection.
I would find myself in agreement that Sunday cuts through human time. But there is also God’s time in the timeless universe. God invented and inspired the cycles of time viewed and perceived by many non-Christians. I do not need to follow pagan time to respect it as a “reception” from the natural world. And indeed, the cycles of days, months, and years are dependent on the rotation of our home planet, and the orbits of our moon around us, and we around our home star.
But yes: the week is not a natural occurrence.
In fact, everything that will happen until the end of the world will be no more than an extension and unfolding of what happened on the day when the battered body of the Crucified Lord was raised by the power of the Spirit and became in turn the wellspring of the Spirit for all humanity. Christians know that there is no need to wait for another time of salvation, since, however long the world may last, they are already living in the last times.
I resonate with this view, but I do not think that all Christians would embrace it. Some would see the end times as a reality we live in, just like any other era. Except what is to come is a moment of judgment and cosmic butt-kicking. Grace, not so much.
Not only the Church, but the cosmos itself and history are ceaselessly ruled and governed by the glorified Christ. It is this life-force which propels creation, “groaning in birth-pangs until now” (Rom 8:22), towards the goal of its full redemption.
What is Saint John Paul speaking of here in this interpretation? A kind of cosmic consciousness, like Gaia? Or something with more intentional self-awareness. I would want to hear a bit more on this. I think this could be easily misinterpreted by casual readers.
(Humankind) can have only a faint intuition of this process, but Christians have the key and the certainty. Keeping Sunday holy is the important witness which they are called to bear, so that every stage of human history will be upheld by hope.
Most definitely. Sunday is part of the Christian’s evangelical witness. And we’ve already read quite a bit about that. Our reverence for the poor, our taking time to form ourselves, our experiences of common worship: these all get noticed by non-believers. These all are part of the witness of the Gospel, of being able to invite people into a hope beyond our most penetrating intuitions.