THE SUNDAY HOMILY: Back to Basics - Living the Sabbath
work. "Just as God rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had done, human life has a rhythm of work and rest. The institution of the Lord's Day helps everyone enjoy adequate rest and leisure to cultivate their familial, cultural, social, and religious lives.
On Sundays and other holy days of obligation, the faithful are to refrain from engaging in work or activities that hinder the worship owed to God, the joy proper to the Lord's Day, the performance of the works of mercy, and the appropriate relaxation of mind and body. Family needs or important social service can legitimately excuse from the obligation of Sunday rest. The faithful should see to it that legitimate excuses do not lead to habits prejudicial to religion, family life, and health" (Catechism of the Catholic Church; 2184, 2185).
This means that we are to do housework, yard work and shopping on other days, not on Sunday.
Although it is true that some people will have to work because they are involved with service orientated professions (hospitals and restaurants), employers of these types of professions have a moral obligation to provide their employees time for worship and adequate rest.
Aside from the problems that secularism and materialism have caused in our culture, the bottom line is the fact that most of us simply just do not know how to rest. We are a very active people and we need to recover the true sense of leisure.
Sunday rest is not simply baseball or football and a couple of six packs of beer, nor is the solution eight hours of spiritual reading. We need to recapture the real meaning of leisure.
Leonardo Da Vinci once said, "Every now and then go away, have a little relaxation, for when you come back to your work your judgment will be surer, since to remain constantly at work will cause you to lose power of judgment. Go some distance away because then the work appears smaller, and more of it can be taken in at a glance, and lack of harmony or proportion is more readily seen."
During my years in Spain and Mexico, it would be inevitable that interesting conversations with either Spaniards or Mexicans would take place regarding the differences between their countries and ours.
One man put it bluntly: "Look, the difference between us and you is that we work in order to live, and you live in order to work."
The root of America's extreme activity is a profound restlessness rooted in troubled consciences and lives that have lost the sense of what it means to be a creature of God.
This frantic pace of life is being put to sleep with sex, drugs, alcohol, excessive entertainment and frantic work schedules. Most people equate true leisure to laziness and irresponsibility.
In ancient Athens a man noticed the great storyteller Aesop playing childish games with some little boys. He laughed and jeered at Aesop, asking him why he wasted his time in such frivolous activity.
Aesop responded by picking up a bow, loosening its string, and placing it on the ground. Then he said to the critical Athenian, "Now, answer the riddle, if you can. Tell us what the unstrung bows imply."
The man looked at it for several moments but had no idea what point Aesop was trying to make. Aesop explained, "If you keep a bow always bent, it will break eventually; but if you let it go slack, it will be more fit for use when you want it."
Father James Farfaglia is a contributing writer for Catholic Online and author of Get Serious! - A Survival Guide for Serious Catholics. You can visit him on the web at www.fatherjames.org and listen to the audio podcast of this Sunday homily.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: sunday homily, homily, homilies, catholic online, fr. james farfaglia, sabbath, work on sunday, mass, liturgy
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