To Clarify Previous Post on the Sabbath

In my previous post on the sabbath, I implied that the Apostles had “changed” the sabbath from Saturday to Sunday. My arguments actually supported the observance of Sunday as the primary holy day of the week, with observances commensurate with the Jewish Sabbath. However, the Church still recognizes Saturday as the sabbath but, as I had indicated, observes the Lord’s Day, Sunday to meet the sabbath requirements. I also missed the note in Acts which, contrary to the UCG article I referred to, explicitly states that Paul observed Sunday, the Lord’s Day, for the Eucharistic celebration (Acts 20:7). Coincidentally, this week’s Catholic Virginian published an answer to the very same question, which I have copied below.

“Question: Why do some religions say that the Sabbath day is Saturday while others — including Catholics — say it’s on Sunday? (Eldon, Missouri) Answer: No, Catholics do not say that the Sabbath is on Sunday. The Sabbath is on Saturday, as it was in the Old Testament when God rested from all the work he had done in creation (Gn 2:2- 3) and as it is observed by Jews today. Christians, though, celebrate Sunday instead, because that is the day on which Jesus rose from the dead and the day on which the Holy Spirit came upon the apostles. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church explains: “Sunday is expressly distinguished from the Sabbath which it follows chronologically every week; for Christians its ceremonial observance replaces that of the Sabbath. In Christ’s Passover, Sunday fulfills the spiritual truth of the Jewish Sabbath and announces man’s eternal rest in God” (No. 2175).

What Christians are celebrating instead of the Sabbath is “the Lord’s Day,” and that has been happening since the first century. As the Acts of the Apostles relates: “On the first day of the week, when we gathered to break bread, Paul spoke to them” (20:7).

So for Christians, Sunday is the preeminent holy day of the week, the day on which we refrain from servile work, devote ourselves to the Eucharist, to prayer and family gatherings.

Around 110, St. Ignatius, bishop of Antioch and disciple of the apostle John, proclaimed: “Let every friend of Christ keep the Lord’s Day as a festival, the resurrection-day, the queen and chief of all the days.”

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