Why Sunday is our Sabbath
Tell me about Sunday. I know the early Christians celebrated it because Christ was resurrected on a Sunday. Is that the only reason?
According to the book of Genesis, God created the universe in six days and on the seventh day he rested, blessing it and making it a holy day (Gn 2:1-4). The Jewish week imitated this so that the seventh day of the week was the sabbath, the day of the Lord, a day to rest and worship God.
Christ rose from the dead on the first day of the week (Sunday) (Mark 16:1-8). As you suggest, Christ made this day holy because it was the day of his triumph over death.
Many Christians are not often aware that when the New Testament writers tell us of the appearances of Christ to his disciples before his Ascension, they frequently say that these occurred on the first day of the week (Sunday), particularly when the disciples were assembled together. Take a look at John 20, for example, and Luke 24.
Pentecost on Sunday
Then, of course, the Jewish feast of Pentecost fell on a Sunday. The disciples were meeting in a room when suddenly they were filled by the power of the Holy Spirit. This again indicates the importance of the first day of the week (Sunday) for those early members of the Church. The Jewish converts to the faith met for the breaking of the bread but also went to the Temple daily, following their practice.
Ever since, the Church has held Sunday to be a kind of second Easter, the day of the Lord when Christians gather to remember the passion, death and resurrection of their Redeemer, as they give praise to God the Father.
Vatican II said that the Lord’s day is the original feast day, a day of joy and freedom from work (Constitution on Liturgy, 106). It was once the only festival day for Christians. All other celebrations came much later.
Anticipation of Christ’s Return
Sunday gives us a feeling of anticipation of the day Christ returns to the people of God, whom he has redeemed and to whom he presents the glory of his kingdom.
Sunday rest may not be popular today but we all need to rest from our daily grind, not necessarily to be inactive but to reflect on faithfulness in our stewardship. This implies that we see ourselves increasingly as members of a worshipping community rather than as merely individuals.
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