There it is; every seven days we have one: Sunday. The question is do we ignore the day, mindlessly plow through it, or embrace the Lord’s Day as He gave it to us?
It's easy to simply ignore the day in our fast-paced post-modern world: many people work on Saturday, and sometimes Sunday is the only day that they get to sleep in. There are plenty of distractions as well: sports, games, the morning news shows, and children's activities compete for our attention on the Lord's Day. When I lived in northern Virginia, it was not uncommon for the kids’ soccer games and swim meets to go all weekend, starting early on Sunday morning, leaving no time for Mass unless you planned well ahead.
Above all the din of the post-modern world, there is the promise of peace on Sunday. Each week we get the opportunity to refresh ourselves in a “little Easter,” reliving the day our Lord rose from the dead. Sundays weren't made for football, they were made for worship. The Catechism quotes St. Jerome in describing how the Lord's Day was made for us:
The Lord's day, the day of Resurrection, the day of Christians, is our day. It is called the Lord's day because on it the Lord rose victorious to the Father. If pagans call it the “day of the sun,” we willingly agree, for today the light of the world is raised, today is revealed the sun of justice with healing in His rays.
It must have been quiet that first Easter morning just before the Resurrection, birds waking up, the guards at the Tomb dozing, and the sun slowly peeking above the horizon. Suddenly, the amber light of early morning gave way to the brilliance of the Resurrection of our Lord. It wasn't long until Jesus' friends found the empty Tomb, and St. Mary Magdalene could exclaim, “I have seen the Lord!” This is the promise of Sunday.
For those not blessed or inclined to hear Mass during the week, Holy Mass on Sunday is our only chance to receive Jesus in the Eucharist. I like to go to Mass early in the morning on Sunday, when the world is still slowly moving toward its coffee pots. The church is still quiet in the morning as people are usually unwilling to break the peacefulness of the morning with conversation. We are eased into the day with a song, then hearing the Word proclaimed, then the crescendo of once again reliving the ascent to Calvary followed by the brilliance of the Resurrection in the Eucharist. Looking around I notice the people leaving the church are not the same as when they arrived. Their eyes are more luminous than before, reflecting the glory of Jesus now resting within them.
The Catechism illuminates this transformation of the Christian, Sunday is the pre-eminent day for the liturgical assembly, when the faithful gather
to listen to the word of God and take part in the Eucharist, thus calling to mind the Passion, Resurrection, and glory of the Lord Jesus, and giving thanks to God who “has begotten them again, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” unto a living hope. (#1167)
Just as the Garden after the Tomb emptied was transformed, the communicants leave Mass changed, ready to enter the day animated with the enthusiasm of St. Mary Magdalene. Like her, we can exclaim each Sunday, “We have seen the Lord!”
Mickey Addison is a career military officer, and has been a catechist at the parish level since 2000. He and his wife have been married for 19 years and they have two children. He can be reached at email@example.com.
This article was previously published on the Rosary Army’s website and is used by permission.