Sunday – a different day!
The third commandment tells us to ‘Keep holy the Sabbath Day’. In the Hebrew language, the word ‘holy’ means ‘different’ or ‘separate’ or ‘set apart’. One day in the week is to be a special day; one day in the week is to be kept different from the others.
For Christians this special day is SUNDAY because it was on a Sunday, the ‘first day’ of the Jewish week, that Jesus rose from the dead. It was also on Sunday, the day of resurrection that Jesus appeared to the two disciples on the Road to Emmaus.
From the very beginning of the Church, followers of Jesus have assembled on Sunday to celebrate the EUCHARIST…
“On that day which is named after the sun, all who are in the towns and in the country gather together for a communal celebration. And then the memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read, as long as time permits. After the reader has finished, the one presiding gives an address, urgently exhorting his hearers to practise these beautiful readings in their lives. Then all stand up together and recite prayers.
After the prayers are over, the bread and wine mixed with water are brought forward, and the president offers up prayers and thanksgivings, as much as in him lies. The people join in with an ‘Amen’. Then takes place the distribution to all those present of the things over which the thanksgiving had been spoken.
The deacons bring a portion to those who are absent. Moreover, those who are well-off give whatever they will; what is collected is left with then president, who uses it to help orphans and widows, those in want owing to sickness or any other cause, prisoners, travellers, and in short anyone who is in any need.”
(St. Justin Martyr, 150AD)
FOR YOU TO DO 1
Read St Justin Martyr’s account of Sunday Mass in the second century and identify as many similarities to Sunday Mass in the twenty-first century as you can (written or spoken).
• Write/talk about a Mass that holds a special memory for you.
‘Christians are those who keep the Lord’s Day, not the Sabbath.’ St. Ignatius of Antioch
We can make Sunday a special day of joy and thanksgiving by making it…
1. A Day of Prayer & Worship
Recommit ourselves to meet Jesus in the Eucharist each Sunday, reflect on the Gospel reading of the day (www.sacredspace.ie , there are numerous Apps available to download)
2. A Day for Family
Be with the rest of our families for a meal on Sunday, enjoy a family outing together?
3. A Day for Others
Visit relatives, those who are old and alone? Give some time to meeting friends? Visit family graves etc.
FOR YOU TO DO 2
Draw up the ‘perfect’ or ‘ideal’ Sunday where you could spend time in Church, with your family and with others.
What factors in your life prevent you from spending every Sunday like this?
Prophet, not profit, is what Sunday is all about: Des Kelly
Thursday, January 10th, 2008
The owner of a chain of carpet and home furnishing stores in Ireland has taken a strong stand against Sunday trading and decided to close all of his thirteen outlets each Sunday, so as to keep the Sabbath holy.
Des Kelly is the owner of Des Kelly Carpets, with 13 shops around Ireland and up to 200 employees.
He himself pioneered Sunday shopping back in 1971, but since he began to visit Medjugorje in 1998, he has begun to think more seriously about his faith. “I got great healing there,” he said on popular radio phone in programme Liveline on Tuesday. “I have been going twice a year ever since. I got to know God and our Blessed Lady better. The closer you get to God, the more you realise when you’re committing sin.”
Mr Kelly said the decision to close on Sundays was taken in the last six months, following consultation with his staff. He stands to lose about €600,000 in trade, but is adamant that he is happy about the decision and he will “make the money up in other ways.”
A caller, Helen, said the ruse was a “publicity stunt”. She herself was a shop owner and found that people didn’t buy on Sunday, but merely browsed.
Mr Kelly replied that Sunday was their best day. “It is not a publicity stunt. I’m glad with what I’ve done. With the help of God I’ll set a trend.”
Helen ended up agreeing with him. “I hope it works and we all follow suit,” she said.
James, a caller from Tipperary spoke of how he had commiserated with a shop keeper on Easter Sunday for having to work. “If people didn’t come in we wouldn’t have to be in here on Sunday,” was her reply. Her words had made him re-evaluate his own attitude and since then he has tried not to shop on Sunday.
Another caller, Seán, also commended Mr Kelly, saying that shopping does not have to be done on Sunday. He pointed out that banks are closed on Sundays and people still manage to get to the bank during the week. He himself brought his children to Mass on Sundays, and then to the shops, which were “heaving”. Mr Kelly’s stand “would make me change my habits,” he concluded.
Another caller, Bernadette, said if others followed suit, “it might give a young family time to reflect instead of just thinking materialism, to think, Yes, Sunday is for something else”. She had opened her shop on Sundays over Christmas, but “I will not open this coming Christmas,” she added.
However other callers were opposed to the move. John, from Carlow, said that it would deprive young people of an income to help cover their studies, and Derek from Kildare said that many couples, who were both working, were too exhausted to do anything on Saturday except sleep and potter around the house, and all the shopping was done on Sunday.
Mr Kelly answered he was sticking to his decision. “It is against our principles to trade on Sunday. It is unnecessary servile work. We open late on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
My workers won’t work Sunday. They are happy, my family is happy and my grandchildren are happy. Sunday is a day of rest.”
FOR YOU TO DO 3
• What is your initial reaction to this article?
• What has prompted Mr Kelly’s change of trading times?
• Do you agree with the suggestion that if banks are closed on Sundays so too can shops? Explain your answer.
• What do you think people who shop on Sundays would do if the shops were closed? Is it reasonable to suggest that people would spend more times with their families and/or friends?
• ‘Sunday is a day of rest’. What does this statement mean to you?
• Ask a grandparent/senior citizen to describe what he or she used to do on Sundays in Ireland in the days when shops were all closed.
• In groups of four, name three things that you could do on a Sunday (not in shopping centres) that would give you more quality time with family and/or friends.
Click here for Lesson 5: Recognising the Lord in Our Midst