Third Commandment Keep holy the Sabbath Day. |


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Third Commandment Keep holy the Sabbath Day.

刊登日期: 2014.03.16
作者: Fr. Thomas Au 區耀邦神父  


 What day of the week is Sabbath? 

The original Sabbath refers to the seventh day rest of Gen. 2:2 because God saw everything was good. Because of this religious notion of taking time to enjoy what is good, Western cultures have the practice of taking a day off from work to enjoy what the work brings. The word “sabbatical” comes from this notion of taking a break in order to be refreshed. 

There are two things we need to keep in mind. First, the Jewish people consider a day, again from Gen. 1, to begin with sundown and ends at sundown the next day. Second, our Sunday is their first day of the week. Thus, in John 20:1, “On the first day of the week.....”, every first day is Easter, Sunday. So, for us, Sunday is the real first day of the week even though we feel that Monday as the first day. 

On the Sabbath, the Jewish people begin their observation at home. Their Friday evening meal takes on a prayerful nature. Parents would often say a prayer of blessing over their children. The Jewish people would then go to the synagogue, their word for church, to celebrate the gift of community. This may take place Friday evening or Saturday morning. Nevertheless, the community is the extension of the family. 

There are a number of references in the Acts of the Apostles mentioning that the early Church continued to observe Sabbath at the synagogue and then gotten together to celebrate the Breaking of the Bread on the first day of the week. Historically they did this until after 70 A.D. when Jewish Christians were no longer allowed to go to the synagogues. They then combined the two parts: the reading of scripture and praying of the psalms with the Breaking of the Bread, now called the Eucharist. They then naturally incorporated the teachings of Jesus and the Apostles in what we now call the Liturgy of the Word. St. Justin the Martyr described this in a writing dating to 155 A.D. (CCC 1345) 

From then on, Christians no longer observe the Sabbath but the Lord’s Day. And so do we. 

Another noteworthy citation is from the Gospel. Lk. 4:16 “He came to Nazareth, where He had grown up, and went according to His custom into the synagogue on the Sabbath day.” When people tells me that they do not go to church on Sundays because they don’t get anything out of it, I tell them that Jesus probably didn’t get much out of it either. I am certain that He would rather take time with the Father on His own, which He did often. Yet He went on the Sabbath not for Himself but for the community. So, we do the same and pray on our own at other times. 

One thing that has always bothered me about being Chinese is that we work so hard. Most Chinese businesses will open on Sundays, at least part of the day. When I was growing up, my dad had to work every other Sunday. He did make it a point that when he was off everybody had to be there to spend the day with him. Now, when we look back, we treasure those memories: things we did, places we went. I still have the pictures when we used to go to the Peak and spend half the day there. 


If our family is God’s first gift to us, we have to spend them to appreciate them. So is our parish family. 

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