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Fr. Matt
Site Owner
Posts: 382

The Bible tells us to worship God on the Sabbath, which I believe is Saturday. Why do we worship on Sunday?

April 10, 2014 at 11:34 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Fr. Matt
Site Owner
Posts: 382

          This question was submitted as the second of two questions – the first of which we examined last week. It’s also one that I have heard offered on several occasions – often as a challenge to Catholics. As such, it will be a joy (as always) to attempt a reply here, so (as always) thanks for asking!

          You are correct, in part, in proposing that the Bible tells us to worship God on the Sabbath, which is indeed Saturday (the 7th day of the week). In particular, the 3rd Commandment enjoins us to “keep holy the Sabbath … For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them; but on the seventh day he rested. That is why the LORD has blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.”

          So, then why do we worship on Sunday? Well, the beginning of the answer to that question is also found in the Bible. All four Gospels tell of Jesus’ resurrection “on the first day of the week” “when the Sabbath was over”, and for this reason, Sunday (the first day of the week) is referred to as “the Lord’s Day”. In the Acts of the Apostles (chapter 20), Luke recounts that “On the first day of the week, when we gathered to break bread…” indicating that this was their common practice (and “to break bread” is a common Biblical expression for celebrating the Eucharist). Also, John says in Revelation (chapter 1) that his grand vision of the Divine Liturgy (Mass) in heaven took place “on the first day of the week.”

          These are among the instances in the Bible itself in which the Day of the Lord had replaced the Sabbath as the holy day (both in heaven and on earth). There are also writings from apostolic times which give the same accounts. In the Didache (the teaching of the Apostles), we find: “On the Lord's Day of the Lord come together, break bread and hold Eucharist, after confessing your transgressions that your offering may be pure.” Also, Ignatius of Antioch, Justin Martyr, and others write of “no longer observing the Sabbath, but living in the observance of the Lord’s day, on which also our life has sprung up again by him and by his death”, and that “Sunday is the day on which we all hold our common assembly, because it is the first day on which God, having wrought a change in the darkness and matter, made the world; and Jesus Christ our Savior on the same day rose from the dead.”

          In short, we can see that in God’s great plan, the Sabbath was a preparation for the better things to come: namely, the celebration of the Lord’s Day. In the beginning, God began creation on the 1st day, and rested on the 7th day, and so it was made holy. In the fullness of time, Jesus again rested (in the tomb) on the Sabbath before He rose again on the new 1st day – His Day – declaring: “Behold, I make all things new!”

          Thanks for such a wonderful question, and – as always – if you have another way of looking at this or other questions of our Faith, please sign on to our website (www.stanthonyniagara.org), and post your own question or response in the Forums section under “Ask Father”.

 

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Fr. Matt

April 10, 2014 at 11:37 PM Flag Quote & Reply

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