The Gospel reports many incidents when Jesus was ac
cused of violating the sabbath law. But Jesus never fails to respect
the holiness of this day.
He gives this law its authentic and
authoritative interpretation: “The sabbath was made for man, not
man for the sabbath.”
With compassion, Christ declares the
sabbath for doing good rather than harm, for saving life rather than
The sabbath is the day of the Lord of mercies and a day
to honor God.
“The Son of Man is lord even of the sabbath.”
This is the day which the Lord has made; let us rejoice and
be glad in it.
The day of the Resurrection: the new creation
Jesus rose from the dead “on the first day of the week.”
Because it is the “first day,” the day of Christ’s Resurrection recalls
the first creation. Because it is the “eighth day” following the
it symbolizes the new creation ushered in by Christ’s
Resurrection. For Christians it has become the first of all days, the
first of all feasts, the Lord’s Day (
he kuriake hemera, dies
We all gather on the day of the sun, for it is the first day [after
the Jewish sabbath, but also the first day] when God, sepa
rating matter from darkness, made the world; and on this
same day Jesus Christ our Savior rose from the dead.
Sunday—fulfillment of the sabbath
Sunday is expressly distinguished from the sabbath which
it follows chronologically every week; for Christians its ceremonial
observance replaces that of the sabbath. In Christ’s Passover,
106 St. Justin, I
67: PG 6, 429 and 432.