Laudato Si 237: Sunday

Earth from Apollo 8The encyclical letter Laudato Si is available here on the Vatican website. And so we come to the notion of rest, or more accurately, Sabbath:

237. On Sunday, our participation in the Eucharist has special importance. Sunday, like the Jewish Sabbath, is meant to be a day which heals our relationships with God, with ourselves, with others and with the world. Sunday is the day of the Resurrection, the “first day” of the new creation, whose first fruits are the Lord’s risen humanity, the pledge of the final transfiguration of all created reality. It also proclaims “(humankind’s) eternal rest in God”.[CCC 2175] In this way, Christian spirituality incorporates the value of relaxation and festivity.

And like industrial masters and slavers who insisted on constant service, people today are beset by the same oppression, the need to work rather than take rest.

We tend to demean contemplative rest as something unproductive and unnecessary, but this is to do away with the very thing which is most important about work: its meaning. We are called to include in our work a dimension of receptivity and gratuity, which is quite different from mere inactivity. Rather, it is another way of working, which forms part of our very essence.

Action, not activism:

It protects human action from becoming empty activism; it also prevents that unfettered greed and sense of isolation which make us seek personal gain to the detriment of all else. The law of weekly rest forbade work on the seventh day, “so that your ox and your donkey may have rest, and the son of your maidservant, and the stranger, may be refreshed” (Ex 23:12). Rest opens our eyes to the larger picture and gives us renewed sensitivity to the rights of others. And so the day of rest, centered on the Eucharist, sheds it light on the whole week, and motivates us to greater concern for nature and the poor.

Like the sacraments, Sunday is not a narcissitic privilege of the well-to-do. It is something for everyone. It should lead us to reflect more deeply on what inspires us to give thanks and feel gratitude. From this “eucharist” may we be moved to consider others, and draw them into this great thanksgiving.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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10 Responses to Laudato Si 237: Sunday

  1. Liam says:

    If anything, the well-to-do, other than people with sufficient inherited wealth, tend to be the LEAST likely to observe a sabbath rest. This is important to realize because too many of them, as leaders in American business, appear to resent that their workers might prefer to do so.

    The solvent that broke down sabbath observance was twofold: (i) appealing to consumer appetite, and (ii) the organized corrosion of organized labor (taking many forms, some of which are at issue in the current presidential campaign, but not typically for that reason) that that fewer families could make do on a single income.

    I can still remember growing up when the only places open on Sundays outside Jewish urban neighborhoods were (i) bakeries, (ii) pharmacies, (iii) what in NY State were often called “stationery stores” (relying on an exception in state law), (iv) parks of divers sorts, et cet.

    While I cannot call myself a *very* observant Sabbatarian, I do strain to do as much of my weekly shopping and chores on Saturdays and reduce the need for such on Sundays

  2. Michael Hamblin says:

    ……even tho the 7th Day is the Bible Sabbath and not Sunday as being pushed Here……….no change in the New Testament…just a few mentions of First day but as Atheists say……no Evidence of a Change………..No later under Constantine in 321 the first Sunday Law and later Ratified and Changed and included in older Catechisms of how the Papacy had the Power and Authority to change the Sabbath from 7th to the 1st day……..Ostensibly because of our Saviours Glorious Resurrection on Sunday…………..So beware of a Counterfeit being Advertised Here to combat the Climate Emergency.

    Rather Worship Him Who Created the Heavens and the Earth the Sea and Fountains of waters…….And Rested made Holy and Sanctified On the 7th Day of Creation Week…….Saturday same as our Present Week in spite of Calendar Changes which never changed the Order of the days of the Week.

    • Todd says:

      Yes, this has been visited frequently in history. Jewish practice is to keep the Sabbath on the 7th day. The Christian observance of Sunday, as Pope Francis describes, is “like” the Jewish Sabbath. But it is not the same. Luke 24:13-35 gives some grounding of this, but the final break from Saturday is hinted at in Acts, and is very early in Christian history, already presumed in 2nd century documents.

  3. Willow says:

    Nothing Jewish about the seventh day Sabbath. It was created in the first week for man. Abraham kept it and it will be kept in the new earth as well. Malachi 4 tells us there was no change. This global warming is just a sly way of saying the global SUNday law is at the door. Time is ending please come out of her…..

    • Todd says:

      Not exactly. Judaism claimed the heritage of the Creation in Genesis and implemented it in the Torah. The Sabbath is Jewish by inheritance and by faith.

  4. Moih says:

    sure the clamatic change will no longer fault the breakdown of the sabbath as the day of rest it was sanctified, glorified and it will be kept till the new earth… be aware breathren this is the trick of the devil…there is no any where in the Bible that authorises that change from sartuday to sunday so watch out therefore this is the trick to counterfeit the real sabbath

    • Todd says:

      Put quite simply, Christians do not observe the Jewish Sabbath, and almost never have. If some non-Jews choose to embrace the Sabbath, Friday sundown to Saturday sundown, I have no problem with that. But Christians, traditionally, observe the 8th day. Not the 7th.

      • Joy says:

        But doesnt Matthew 15:3 – But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your traditions..

        Am not sure God will be pleased with us changing his words as we please. Isnt this dangerous?

      • Todd says:

        Joy, Jesus is addressing the Pharisees who are commenting on their observation that Jesus’ disciples don’t follow ritual handwashing. I don’t think Christians “change” God’s word. By and large, we don’t observe the traditional Jewish Sabbath. We observe Sunday as a sabbath of a new creation, a new reality after the Resurrection. There is no explicit instruction from Jesus about observing the 8th day, but the tradition derives from the very oldest times of Christianity. In the Roman Empire, it was actually a work day, so people went to Mass early in the day, and went about their business along with the pagans.

        Somehow, I think we incur more displeasure from God when we mistreat other human beings, rather than where we’ve set aside the traditions of Judaism. Even the Old Testament prophets warned us about this (cf. Isaiah 58:1-12, Micah 6:6-8)

  5. Rubachandran says:

    Laudato si,one of the best project in the global,to take care of environment and treat the world as second common home,all nation must demand to accept common good ,and ask the Governments to immediately enforce the green Sabbath, future is now,free zero carbon now,also thanks to papa because come up with solution.

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