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Call the Sabbath a Delight

What is more important: your God or your job? When I ask it like that, most Catholics would give the right answer ("God"). Let me ask it another way though: what is more important: earning a living, or going to Mass? Just changing the terms can change how people respond. There are many Catholics today who would (unashamedly) say "earning a living". If their job says "you have to work on Sunday" they give in and accept it; albeit reluctantly, but it is still accepted.

There was a time when Catholics would rather be fired and have no income than to miss Mass. It rarely ever happened, but they had it settled in their minds as to which takes priority. In essence, those who choose work over the third commandment are displaying a lack of trust in God. Our God promises that if we make obedience to Him a firm priority and refuse to let the world tell us we cannot obey Him, then He will take care of us and bless us. This applies to how we "keep the Sabbath holy" (for Sunday is the Christian Sabbath). Do you believe that? Not all do.

In today's readings for Mass we are told:

If you turn back your foot from the sabbath, from doing your business on my holy day, and call the sabbath a delight and the holy day of the Lord honorable; if you honor it, not going your own ways, or seeking your own pleasure, or talking idly; then you shall take delight in the Lord, and I will make you ride upon the heights of the earth; I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.

This is not an "if" or a "maybe" on God's part. The only "if" is for us. "If" we commit to keeping the Lord's Day holy and do not allow our work to keep us from obedience, then God promises that He will grant us amazing blessings. If we are more afraid of finding another job than of answering to God for disobedience, then it shows we do not understand what really matters. The Lord says that the mere commitment to doing right will lead to blessings beyond measure.

Leaving out the astronomically bad idea of telling people to watch Mass on t.v. back during the early Covid farce, obeying this commandment is not as hard as it used to be. The Church today has gone a long way to make it possible for people to attend Mass. We no longer have only one Mass on Sunday in the morning; many parishes have multiple Masses on Sunday, and Saturday night is allowed to count for one's Sunday obligation. Certainly those in service fields (emergency, medical, police, etc.) and those with life-essential duties of mercy (farmers, etc.) are not bound in the same manner, yet they still need to put in the effort to make sure that they plan ahead and schedule time to be in the Mass. They can also get dispensations or commutations from their priests--if they try.

Whatever our calling may be, we must work to ensure that our minds and hearts consider the Lord's Day "a delight" as the prophet Isaiah said. We cannot think, "I have too much work to do, and it is not convenient to go to Mass". When we fall into that type of thinking it is a slippery slope. We will let one thing go, and then another, and another. It all starts in the heart; if our hearts are not committed to the Christian Sabbath as a true joy granted by God, then it will always seem too hard to obey. If we make it our priority to obey the third commandment, then God will open up doors for us and we will see that it is possible to obey God even in this crazy world.


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