Table of Contents Table of Contents
Previous Page  395 / 665 Next Page
Show Menu
Previous Page 395 / 665 Next Page
Page Background

Chapter 27. Third Commandment: Love the Lord’s Day • 367

that all the faithful should be convinced that they cannot live

their faith or share fully in the life of the Christian community

unless they take part regularly in the Sunday Eucharistic assem-

bly. (DD, nos. 49, 81)

For a Catholic, the Sunday Eucharist must be the most important

religious exercise of the week. In it, we offer our lives in sacrifice with

Jesus to the Father, thereby participating directly in the great mysteries

of our faith.

The Catholic parish, shepherded by the priest under the authority

of the diocesan bishop, is the ordinary setting for Sunday worship and

is central to the preparation for and celebration of all the Sacraments.

While Sunday is the time for worship, it is also an occasion for rest

and relaxation. We should make time to be with one another in meals,

conversation and activities that deepen family life. “Every Christian

should avoid making unnecessary demands on others that would hin-

der them from observing the Lord’s Day. Traditional activities (sports,

restaurants, etc.), and social necessities (public services, etc.), require

some people to work on Sundays, but everyone should still take care to

set aside sufficient time for leisure” (CCC, no. 2187; cf. no. 2186). The

Eucharistic celebration does not stop at the church door. Those who

participate at Mass carry their joy, faith, and concern for others from

the Mass into the rest of the day, and indeed into the week that follows.


After the Christian religion obtained its freedom under the Roman

emperor Constantine in the fourth century, civil laws were passed to

limit unnecessary work on Sunday. The greatest beneficiaries were the

poor who otherwise worked long hours every day of the week. Centuries

later, at the height of the Industrial Revolution, sweatshops were estab-

lished in large cities where men, women, and children worked fifteen

hours a day, often on Sundays.

Today in some places in our country, those seven-day sweatshops

have returned. This is both an injustice to the poor and also an abuse

of Sunday rest, and we need to find ways to correct this. “God’s action