The Sabbath and Sunday

And it came to pass again, as the Lord walked through the corn fields on the sabbath, that his disciples began to go forward, and to pluck the ears of corn.

And the Pharisees said to him: Behold, why do they on the sabbath day that which is not lawful? And he said to them: Have you never read what David did when he had need, and was hungry himself, and they that were with him? How he went into the house of God, under Abiathar the high priest, and did eat the loaves of proposition, which was not lawful to eat but for the priests, and gave to them who were with him?

And he said to them: The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath. Therefore the Son of man is Lord of the sabbath also.

And he entered again into the synagogue, and there was a man there who had a withered hand. And they watched him whether he would heal on the sabbath days; that they might accuse him. And he said to the man who had the withered hand: Stand up in the midst. And he saith to them: Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to destroy? But they held their peace.

And looking round about on them with anger, being grieved for the blindness of their hearts, he saith to the man: Stretch forth thy hand. And he stretched it forth: and his hand was restored unto him. And the Pharisees going out, immediately made a consultation with the Herodians against him, how they might destroy him. (Mark 2:23-3:6, Douay-Rheims)

The Sabbath and Sunday are two important days of the week with different meanings and significance in the Bible. “The Church week is made up of a Sunday and six week days. The Sunday is called Dies Dominica, i.e., the Lord’s Day. Saturday is called Sabbatum.”* The Church of Jerusalem, like the early Church of the Apostles’ time, observes both Sabbatum and Dies Dominica.

The Bible tells us that the Sabbath is a holy day, and is part of the Ten Commandments. Traditionally, the Sabbath begins at sunset on Friday and ends at sunset on Saturday. For members of the Catholic Church of Jerusalem, it is a day of rest and worship, a time to celebrate God’s creation and to spend time with family and community. Observant, Traditional Catholics refrain from unnecessary work and other activities in order to honour the Sabbath and keep it holy as commanded in the Bible.

Remember that thou keep holy the sabbath day.

Six days shalt thou labour, and shalt do all thy works.

But on the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: thou shalt do no work on it, thou nor thy son, nor thy daughter, nor thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy beast, nor the stranger that is within thy gates.

For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and the sea, and all things that are in them, and rested on the seventh day: therefore the Lord blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it. — Exodus 20:8-11, Douay-Rheims Catholic Bible

Sunday is referred to as the “Lord’s Day” and is the day of Christ’s resurrection. Like the Sabbath day, it is celebrated as a day of worship and rest, and is considered a holy day for Catholics. Sunday is the day when we gather together for worship, attending Mass and spending time with family and friends.

The Didache reminds us that…

Every Lord’s day gather yourselves together, and break bread, and give thanksgiving after having confessed your transgressions, that your sacrifice may be pure. (Chapter 14)

While the Sabbath and Sunday have different meanings and practices, both are considered important days of rest and worship. Sunday represents the New Covenant in Christ and the hope of eternal life, while the Sabbath represents not only the covenant between God and the Jewish people and the importance of honouring God’s Commandments but also a reminder of God’s creation.

* Father Lasance New Roman Missal, a pre-Vatican II, Traditional Roman Catholic missal.