Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Sabbath – Not Optional

The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.

Sabbath, the day of rest, in the Jewish tradition runs from Friday sundown to Saturday sundown. For Christians, we mark the resurrection of Christ by taking Sunday. Both traditions speak to a fundamental human need, as Jesus identifies it today.

It is not simply about the worship of God. God does not need my worship. I need God. I need the Sabbath.

God did not create the human being to be a perpetual motion machine.

God established the Sabbath knowing how he created his image and likeness, us. We need the rest. We need to stop. We need a day which is not focused on work. We need to focus on God, family,and friends, the traditional practices that took places when we Christians used to observe a Sabbath.

Today the Church celebrates the memorial of St. Anthony a man who spent most of his life living in relative isolation. While none of us may be called to that extreme, we do need time we when stop, when we unplug ourselves. We need Sabbath.

It would be unrealistic to expect that we can roll back the clock to the days when stores were closed on the Sabbath and almost no one was expected to work. Perhaps we can, however, start by rediscovering the concept in our personal lives. When was the last time you even really thought about the concept of Sabbath? When was the last time you seriously look at what you do on Sunday asked how, as a Christian you mark the special quality of the day? Many Catholics now attend Mass on Saturday so even that is not a part of their Sabbath.

Imagine if you chose something as simple as not responding to email on Sunday. Would it mean the end of the world really? I doubt it.

The Sabbath was made for man (and woman). Let us not waste this precious gift from God.