This is Part 2 of a three-part reflection series on the importance and value of Sunday as the Lord’s Day and Sunday worship as the Church continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Part 1 was published last Sunday. This series is being featured on both BLACKCATHOLIC and Laudare.
In Part 1 last week, I talk about the nature of Sunday as the Lord’s Day, and how it gives us access to the deeper meaning and objective purpose that we all long for as more than just a rest from work. But even ordinary work during the rest of the week normally gives us a sense of meaning, too. Thus, when the virus shut everything down (church and workplace) it committed a robbery of meaning against us both as Christians and as human beings who received our sense of meaning and purpose from our worship and our work. But the Lord’s Day remained supremely important because: “We give the Lord His day so that He can give us what every human being has ever longed for unceasingly each and every moment of our lives:
– our identity (who we are)
– belonging (whose we are)
– meaning (why we are)
– happiness, peace, and love (what we live for),
– purpose (how we live what we live for),
– our ultimate destiny (where we are going).
All of this is everything that the pandemic undermined in us to one extent or another.”
This week I further build off the ideas I expressed in Part 1 and how Sunday provides all of the above, so if you haven’t read the beginning of the series, be sure to check that out first.
This week for Part 2 I talk about all the good things Sunday as the Lord’s Day gives us both as Christians and as human beings. The Lord’s Day, both the beginning and culmination of each week from which all other days and their significance and value should flow from, gives us access to everything we are searching for in this life because what we all are searching for can only be truly found in their full in the Lord of the Lord’s Day, who is Goodness, Fulfillment, and Meaning itself. This is about how Sunday gives us our identify, belonging, meaning, happiness, peace, and love, purpose, and our ultimate destiny.
Now here’s Part 2.
Even in during the worst ravages of the pandemic last year we knew deep down in our hearts of our need to return to full identity, belonging, meaning, happiness, peace, and love, purpose, and destiny – all of which the virus and the shutdowns tried to rob from us materially and spiritually. And there was no better way to return to having these aspects than by returning to the Lord’s Day because the Lord of the Lord’s Day (the ultimate meaning of Sunday) is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
There is no other deeper identity or meaning or truth or happiness or meaning or peace or love or anything but Him. And even the pieces of these things that we are able to derive in the world from our earthly endeavors flow directly from Him who made the world, He who simply IS these transcendentals in His divine essence. The Lord’s Day, is the day of the resurrection, and it is so much saturated in the resurrection that all those who participate in Sunday worship become totally enveloped by it and all of what it gives us.
Thus, the Lord’s Day gives us the identity we seek by telling us who we really are meant to be.
When we gather together to worship on the Lord’s Day we come to firmly know our true identity, that we are children of the Father in the risen Jesus whom we are baptized into. We come to know that we are brothers and sisters of the risen Jesus by His incarnation and through our baptism. We realize that we are new creations in Christ by baptism into the resurrection of Jesus. And we become restored images of God in the resurrection of Jesus that we celebrate each Sunday.
Furthermore, each of us wants to truly belong and know to whom we belong in terms of a real bond of love and acceptance.
Thus, Sunday teaches us that we belong to the Church in her multiple levels of community from the local to the universal. We belong to each other as members of one Body, one family. We belong to both the Father who bought us and to Jesus whose blood paid for us. We belong to the resurrection by virtue of our baptism; thus, we belong to Sunday itself. And we belong to the liturgy, the celebration of the saving mystery of Christ.
Sunday gives us our meaning by telling us why we are.
Sunday and the rest of the liturgical year consecrates all of time with Sunday being the culmination of that consecration. Each passing day is charged with meaning for us who live through them. Sunday in the Old Testament is the first day of creation. All of God’s creation flows out of the first day of as further applications of God’s creative activity, and, thus, we are the result of God’s own creative action and will. But Sunday in the New Testament is the day of the new creation that we become a part of in Christ. We are remade because of God’s redemptive action and mercy.
Sunday gives us the happiness, peace, and love we live for by gathering us all together in order to worship and love God as brothers and sisters in one family.
It is this communion between God and us and between each other that we experience true happiness, peace, and love by uniting ourselves to Him who is Happiness, Peace, and Love itself.
Sunday also teaches us our purpose because Sunday is about truly living the first and second greatest commandment and accomplishing these mandates through the liturgy: loving God above all and with everything through Eucharistic worship and loving your neighbor by leading him to God and worshiping alongside him in mutual love and partaking in the same Holy Communion. In the Resurrected Jesus, whom Sunday celebrates, humanity is brought to do this fully and perfectly.
Lastly, Sunday lets us know our destiny as being bound for the glory of the Resurrection, which is the glory that Sunday receives its shine from.
The glory of man’s destiny is eternal life in glorified bodies and souls within a context of new heavens and a new earth, life that finally realizes who we are meant to be, life that chooses the good (God) forever without straying from it, life that is the same perpetual fiat given to God by the Handmaid which launched the Gospel’s maiden voyage in the first place.
Come back next Sunday for Part 3, the last of this reflection series.