Brothers and Sisters,

What does it mean for us to “Keep Holy the Sabbath.” We know that for us Christians, we keep the commandment of the Sabbath on Sunday now. But do we observe Sunday at all as a special day, holy to the Lord? What does “keeping a day holy” mean?
The first reading today is from the Book of Deuteronomy and speaks about the establishment of the Sabbath in the life of the Chosen People. We can hear that the Sabbath is a time to remember the great works of God among His people. The Sabbath is a time to remember God’s love for His people and the many times that God has shown His presence among His people.

In the Old Testament, and surely now as well, one of the great challenges in life is forgetfulness. Once some great deed is past, we humans tend to forget that deed and the wisdom that might come from meditating on that deed.

The second reading is taken from the Second Letter to the Corinthians. There are two really strong statements in the section of this letter that we read today. First we hear: “God who said, Let light shine out of darkness, has shone in our hearts to bring to light the knowledge of the glory of God on the face of Jesus Christ.” And then later we hear this: “We who live are constantly being given up to death for the sake of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh.” Unless we take the time to meditate and reflect on these passages, we will miss our opportunity to understand the Word of God given to us this day. Only in meditating on the light that has come into our darkness will we begin to understand how to celebrate the Sabbath each week. With such meditation, we can begin to understand the mystery of suffering in the life of Jesus and in our own lives, so that we can recognize that we are being “given up to death for the sake of Jesus.”
The passage from Saint Mark’s Gospel that we read today gives us examples of not understanding how to live the Sabbath. This Gospel passage helps us understand what it means that the Sabbath is made for us and we are not made for the Sabbath. The Sabbath is not about rigidly keeping laws and quiet and meditation on the Word, but is also about doing good to others and seeking always to live in God’s love.

Such an understanding of the Sabbath today reminds us that we must set time aside to be with God. Just going to Church on Sunday, celebrating Holy Mass on Sunday, is never enough. We need to spend time with God on Sunday and to spend time with God’s Word. We should also spend some time doing good for others. In this way we come to know God’s love more completely and to live as Jesus did, following His path to the Father.

Father Jesus