This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice in it and be glad. (Psalm 118:24, NRSVCE)
As Christians, Sunday is the most important day of the week. For it is on this day that we celebrate the resurrection. It is on this day that we rest from manual labor. But for many of us, Sunday has become one of the busiest days of the week.
So, as Catholics, how can we reclaim Sunday as a day of the Lord?
First, if we are not already doing so, we should be going to Mass on Sunday and on Holydays of obligation (i.e. December 8, January 1, August 15 etc.). We celebrate the Paschal mystery during every Mass, that is, the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. On the day after the sabbath, Jesus Christ defeated death and rose from the dead. Each week, Sunday becomes a “mini-Easter” for us. Just as Jesus Christ rose from the dead, we too are called to new life in Christ. Just as Christ is the new creation, we too are called re-creation. Or to play on words, Sunday is for us a day of recreation and rest.
Second, we are called to rest on the Lord’s day. Hearkening back to Genesis, when God created the world and saw that it was good, God rested. When God used Moses to lead Israel out of the slavery of Egypt, he commanded his people to keep holy the sabbath. Similar to Moses, Christ frees us from the slavery of sin through the power of his resurrection on the 8th day, the day after the sabbath and thereby marking a new creation. But rest is not merely inactivity. Instead, it is a chance for us to take a break from working and focus on getting a small foretaste of Heaven. Sunday is not an escape from work but rather a chance to sanctify and strengthen the work we do here on Earth. For certain necessary occupations, this may not always be possible. Perhaps it may be possible to discern another day of the week to rest intentionally.
But for many of us, a few things may be possible. One practical thing that may be possible is to avoid responding to emails on Sundays. It can become effortless to treat Sunday as the first day of the week or a day to get ready for the week. But the Lord’s day is the 8th day of the week. By setting time aside to rest, we are more receptive to encountering each other and spending time with family.
Third, Lord’s day is a day to spend with family. After celebrating the sacred mysteries within the Body of Christ and being nourished by the spiritual food of Christ’s body, it would then be fitting to extend the celebration of Sunday into the family, the Domestic Church. In the family, children first learn about our Triune God, and our families help us understand God as a communion of 3 persons. From the parental love of both a father and a mother, children first learn what it means to call God a loving Father. Therefore, Sunday can be a day for the family to come together, both immediate and extended. One way to extend the Eucharistic celebration is to cook a family meal together. One obstacle that can prevent families from together is sports. Whether it’s watching football on TV or even driving kids to and from soccer games (or some other sport), this is not to say that sports are evil. Still, it is essential to discern and ask ourselves, “Is this activity leading me towards or away from other people? Is this practice leading me towards or away from God?”
In the life of the Church, Sunday should punctuate the week as a day of celebration, rest, and family. In a world focused on productivity, we Christians stand contrary to letting our productivity define who we are. For our dignity comes from being children of a God who loves us and wants to spend eternity with us. Sunday continually reorients us in that direction. And so I am asking you, waste time this Sunday.
Waste time with your family. Waste time with the Lord.