Friday 17th July – Friday of week 15 of the year
HALLOWING THE LORD’S DAY
Matthew 12: 1-8
The third of the Ten Commandments forbids the Israelites from working on the Sabbath day; it should be kept as an obligatory day of rest and worship in honour of the Lord (Exodus 20: 8-10). Our Lord Jesus Christ healed the sick on the Sabbath and at different times, was accused by the Pharisees of violation the Sabbath (Mark 3: 1-6; Luke 13:10-17; Luke 14: 1-8; John 5: 1-18). Today’s Gospel reading presents one of such instances. Our Blessed Saviour made it clear that He did not come to abolish the law and the Prophets but to fulfil them (Matthew 5: 7). The laws and the covenant of the Old Testament actually prefigure the new covenant in Christ Jesus (John 5: 39-40). Jesus gives the law it authentic and authoritative interpretation.
The Church recognizes The Lord’s day (Sunday) and not Sabbath (Saturday) as the obligatory day of rest and worship because it was on Sunday ( i.e. First day of the week) that the Lord resurrected from the dead ( John 20:20-23). The Sabbath which represented the completion of the first creation, has been replaced by Sunday which recalls the new creation inaugurated by the Resurrection of Christ (CCC 2190). This is not a third century introduction by the Catholic church as some have alleged, there are scriptural evidences (Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 16:2; Col. 2: 16-17) and documentations by the early church fathers (Ignatius of Antioch, Justin Martyr, Tertullian etc.) attesting to this.
Beloved in Christ, having seen the basis of Sunday being celebrated as the Lord’s Day, may we ask ourselves if we truly hollow the Lord’s Day? Do we set it aside as a special day of worship and rest or we allow the servitude of work, the love of money and pleasures of life to prevent us from observing this obligatory responsibility. The Church urges us to give special attention to the corporal works of mercy and the care of our families and relatives on this day (CCC 2185, 2186). For those on essential duty (eg nurses), let us make it an avenue of special service that brings honour to God and blesses our fellow men (Col. 3:23).
PRAYER: Please help me to live for your honour oh Lord! Amen.
KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 2181– The Sunday Eucharist is the foundation and confirmation of all Christian practice. For this reason the faithful are obliged to participate in the Eucharist on days of obligation, unless excused for a serious reason…Those who deliberately fail in this obligation commit a grave sin.
HIDE A TREASURE: “Honour the Lord with your substance and with the first fruit of your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty and your vats will be bursting with wine” Proverbs 3:9 RSV-CE
Today’s Readings: Exodus11:10-12:14; Psalm 116: 12-13, 15-18; Matthew 12: 1-8