May 30th

With the Feast of Pentecost, the Easter Season has drawn to a close and we have entered Ordinary Time.  The Church’s liturgical calendar is meant to help us walk with Our Lord throughout the year, day by day.  At various times of the year, the Church puts different mysteries of the life of the Lord before our eyes.  What is accomplished throughout the year in the liturgical calendar, continuously takes place within the context of every week.

For example, every Friday is a day in which Catholics have traditionally recalled the Lord’s Passion. Many Catholics remember when Catholics were not to eat meat on Friday.  Fridays are still a day of penance in the Church, by the way.  Canon Law states that all Fridays are penitential days.  (cf. Canon 1250)  Canon Law gives local bishop conferences the authority to determine the penance required on Fridays, but we are suppose to have some penitential observance on all Fridays throughout the year.  (cf. Canon 1251)  The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has stated that Catholics in the U.S. are not required to refrain from eating meat on Fridays throughout the year, we are allowed to substitute some other form of penance on Fridays outside of Lent.  (cf. “On Penance and Abstinence” issued by the USCCB)

Another example of the liturgical year being present to us every week is the way that we commemorate the Lord’s Resurrection every Sunday.  From the times of the early Church, Christians have always gathered on Sundays in order to celebrate the day that the Lord rose from the dead.  Every Sunday is, as it were, a little Easter.  The Church asks us to celebrate the Lord’s Resurrection on Sundays by attending Mass and by refraining from unnecessary work on that day.

The reason that the Church asks us to refrain from servile work on Sundays is so that we can be free to truly worship the Lord.  Sunday should be a day of joy and relaxation.  It is a day to be spent with the Lord and with one’s family.  (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church # 2185)

Our culture tends to like an abundance of activity and noise.  If we do not take time to slow down, we will not be able to really recollect ourselves and connect with Our Lord, which is the ultimate goal of our lives.

There are legitimate necessities which require some people to work on Sundays.  That is not what the Church is referring to here.  We are asked to refrain from unnecessary labor on Sundays in order to truly make them a day dedicated to God, to our family and to rest.

The Church gives us these days in order to help us to keep the mysteries of the death and Resurrection of Our Lord always before our eyes.  The more effort we make to really enter into those days, the more they will draw us into union with Our Lord.

God bless,

Father White