“Keep holy the Sabbath Day.”
Although we know the Third Commandment well, we might still wonder what it means and how to keep it. For Christians, we no longer observe Saturday as the Jewish Sabbath because Jesus has sanctified Sunday as the day of the Resurrection, remaking as his own, the Lord’s Day.
St. Luke describes how the early community gathered on Sunday for the Eucharist: “On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread . . . ” (Acts 20:7). Sunday immediately became a day of worship and festivity for the early Christians.
The Jewish Sabbath observance focused on rest. Does that still have meaning? Jesus reminds us that the Sabbath exists for man, meaning we no longer need to follow the burdensome rules of the old observance. But we certainly still need rest! The word rests points us back to the seventh day of creation when God rested. God was not tired. He did not need a break. His rest shows us that his own life and goodness are the culmination of creation, the very reason for which it exists.
We are called into God’s eternal rest in perfect happiness. Sunday is meant to anticipate this perfect rest, not simply through inactivity but in doing the things that matter most. This rest is a great gift, pointing us beyond the busyness of the world and all of our mundane tasks and worries. It should refresh us by giving us space to think about God, to relate to him, and to focus on the most important things that we too often overlook throughout the week. We should put off whatever is burdensome and causes anxiety. There are six other days for those things.
The Lord’s Day is a day of freedom, a weekly reminder that God has freed us from slavery to material things and sin. Sunday should not be like another ordinary day. As Exodus Men, we can reclaim this day in true freedom, making it a space with the oppression of technology and other addictions. It is a day for the fullness of the Christian life, the worship of God, family life, friendship, and true leisure. Early Christians would hold an agape meal (also called a love feast) as a community. We can imitate them in honoring the Lord’s Day as a communal day of celebration and festivity by committing to more time for prayer, relationships, and recreation each Sunday.
We live out our freedom each Sunday by going to Mass and living the entire day differently. We should treasure this gift and truly enjoy it each week. The Lord’s Day is a day for God, family, prayer, nature, beauty, and some fun. Live different each Sunday!