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July 20, 1998
SECTION ONE   vol 9, no. 140
To print out entire text of Today's issue, print this section as well as SECTION TWO
Why the Sabbath reverted from Saturday to Sunday
In the fourth installment of the Holy Father's Apostolic Letter DIES DOMINI, Pope John Paul II explains how the Resurrection of the Lord transfered the importance of the sabbath from Saturdays, as was the custom of the Old Covenant, to the New Covenant day of Sunday as we resume bringing you each day installments of this entire important document. To read the entire document, you can go to Dies Domini. For Chapter Two: The Day of the Risen Lord and of the Gift of the Holy Spirit, part one, click on THE VICAR OF CHRIST SPEAKS.
The Apostolic Letter below Dies Domini was released Tuesday, July 8, 1998 by the Holy Father and deals with reasserting Sundays as God's day when we return to family interests and reserve this sacred day for rest and charity as God intended. The Pope cites Church history and earlier encyclicals in showing the course all Catholics near the end of the millennium must follow in returning a semblance of reverence and respect for God's Laws. He calls on all employers to be understanding fo the need to give back to God His day. Below is the fourth of multiple parts that will include the entire 104 page letter over the next several weeks.
APOSTOLIC LETTER DIES DOMINI OF THE HOLY FATHER JOHN PAUL II TO THE BISHOPS, CLERGY AND FAITHFUL OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH ON KEEPING THE LORD'S DAY HOLY
CHAPTER TWO: The Day of the Risen Lord and of the Gift of the Holy Spirit part one
The Weekly Easter
19. "We celebrate Sunday because of the venerable Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, and we do so not
only at Easter but also at each turning of the week": so wrote Pope Innocent I at the beginning of the fifth
century,(15) testifying to an already well established practice which had evolved from the early years after the
Lord's Resurrection. Saint Basil speaks of "holy Sunday, honoured by the Lord's Resurrection, the first fruits of
all the other days";(16) and Saint Augustine calls Sunday "a sacrament of Easter".(17)
The intimate bond between Sunday and the Resurrection of the Lord is strongly emphasized by all the
Churches of East and West. In the tradition of the Eastern Churches in particular, every Sunday is the
anastàsimos hemèra, the day of Resurrection,(18) and this is why it stands at the heart of all worship.
In the light of this constant and universal tradition, it is clear that, although the Lord's Day is rooted in the very
work of creation and even more in the mystery of the biblical "rest" of God, it is nonetheless to the Resurrection
of Christ that we must look in order to understand fully the Lord's Day. This is what the Christian Sunday does,
leading the faithful each week to ponder and live the event of Easter, true source of the world's salvation.
20. According to the common witness of the Gospels, the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead took
place on "the first day after the Sabbath" (Mk 16:2,9; Lk 24:1; Jn 20:1). On the same day, the Risen Lord
appeared to the two disciples of Emmaus (cf. Lk 24:13-35) and to the eleven Apostles gathered together (cf. Lk
24:36; Jn 20:19). A week later - as the Gospel of John recounts (cf. 20:26) - the disciples were gathered
together once again, when Jesus appeared to them and made himself known to Thomas by showing him the
signs of his Passion. The day of Pentecost - the first day of the eighth week after the Jewish Passover (cf. Acts
2:1), when the promise made by Jesus to the Apostles after the Resurrection was fulfilled by the outpouring of
the Holy Spirit (cf. Lk 24:49; Acts 1:4-5) - also fell on a Sunday. This was the day of the first proclamation and
the first baptisms: Peter announced to the assembled crowd that Christ was risen and "those who received his
word were baptized" (Acts 2:41). This was the epiphany of the Church, revealed as the people into which are
gathered in unity, beyond all their differences, the scattered children of God.
The first day of the week
21. It was for this reason that, from Apostolic times, "the first day after the Sabbath", the first day of the week,
began to shape the rhythm of life for Christ's disciples (cf. 1 Cor 16:2). "The first day after the Sabbath" was also
the day upon which the faithful of Troas were gathered "for the breaking of bread", when Paul bade them
farewell and miraculously restored the young Eutychus to life (cf. Acts 20:7-12). The Book of Revelation gives
evidence of the practice of calling the first day of the week "the Lord's Day" (1:10). This would now be a
characteristic distinguishing Christians from the world around them. As early as the beginning of the second
century, it was noted by Pliny the Younger, governor of Bithynia, in his report on the Christian practice "of
gathering together on a set day before sunrise and singing among themselves a hymn to Christ as to a
god".(19) And when Christians spoke of the "Lord's Day", they did so giving to this term the full sense of the
Easter proclamation: "Jesus Christ is Lord" (Phil 2:11; cf. Acts 2:36; 1 Cor 12:3). Thus Christ was given the
same title which the Septuagint used to translate what in the revelation of the Old Testament was the
unutterable name of God: YHWH.
22. In those early Christian times, the weekly rhythm of days was generally not part of life in the regions where
the Gospel spread, and the festive days of the Greek and Roman calendars did not coincide with the Christian
Sunday. For Christians, therefore, it was very difficult to observe the Lord's Day on a set day each week. This
explains why the faithful had to gather before sunrise.(20) Yet fidelity to the weekly rhythm became the norm,
since it was based upon the New Testament and was tied to Old Testament revelation. This is eagerly
underscored by the Apologists and the Fathers of the Church in their writings and preaching where, in speaking
of the Paschal Mystery, they use the same Scriptural texts which, according to the witness of Saint Luke (cf.
24:27, 44-47), the Risen Christ himself would have explained to the disciples. In the light of these texts, the
celebration of the day of the Resurrection acquired a doctrinal and symbolic value capable of expressing the
entire Christian mystery in all its newness.
Growing distinction from the Sabbath
23. It was this newness which the catechesis of the first centuries stressed as it sought to show the
prominence of Sunday relative to the Jewish Sabbath. It was on the Sabbath that the Jewish people had to
gather in the synagogue and to rest in the way prescribed by the Law. The Apostles, and in particular Saint Paul,
continued initially to attend the synagogue so that there they might proclaim Jesus Christ, commenting upon
"the words of the prophets which are read every Sabbath" (Acts 13:27). Some communities observed the
Sabbath while also celebrating Sunday. Soon, however, the two days began to be distinguished ever more
clearly, in reaction chiefly to the insistence of those Christians whose origins in Judaism made them inclined to
maintain the obligation of the old Law. Saint Ignatius of Antioch writes: "If those who were living in the former
state of things have come to a new hope, no longer observing the Sabbath but keeping the Lord's Day, the day
on which our life has appeared through him and his death ..., that mystery from which we have received our faith
and in which we persevere in order to be judged disciples of Christ, our only Master, how could we then live
without him, given that the prophets too, as his disciples in the Spirit, awaited him as master?".(21) Saint
Augustine notes in turn: "Therefore the Lord too has placed his seal on his day, which is the third after the
Passion. In the weekly cycle, however, it is the eighth day after the seventh, that is after the Sabbath, and the first day of the week".(22) The distinction of Sunday from the Jewish Sabbath grew ever stronger in the mind of the Church, even though there have been times in history when, because the obligation of Sunday rest was so
emphasized, the Lord's Day tended to become more like the Sabbath. Moreover, there have always been
groups within Christianity which observe both the Sabbath and Sunday as "two brother days".(23)
TOMORROW: Part Five of Dies Domini: Chapter Two, The Day of the Risen Lord and of the Gift of the Holy Spirit part two.
- (15) Ep. ad Decentium XXV, 4, 7: PL 20, 555.
- (16) Homiliae in Hexaemeron II, 8: SC 26, 184.
- (17) Cf. In Io. Ev. Tractatus XX, 20, 2: CCL 36, 203; Epist. 55, 2: CSEL 34, 170-171.
- (18) The reference to the Resurrection is especially clear in Russian, which calls Sunday simply "Resurrection" (Voskresenie).
- (19) Epist. 10, 96, 7.
- (20) Cf. ibid. In reference to Pliny's letter, Tertullian also recalls the coetus antelucani in Apologeticum 2, 6: CCL 1, 88; De Corona 3, 3: CCL 2, 1043.
- (21) To the Magnesians 9, 1-2: SC 10, 88-89.
- (22) Sermon 8 in the Octave of Easter 4: PL 46, 841. This sense of Sunday as "the first day" is clear in the Latin liturgical calendar, where Monday is called feria secunda, Tuesday feria tertia and so on. In Portuguese, the
days are named in the same way.
- (23) Saint Gregory of Nyssa, De Castigatione: PG 46, 309. The Maronite Liturgy also stresses the link between the Sabbath and Sunday, beginning with the "mystery of Holy Saturday" (cf. M. Hayek, Maronite [Eglise],
Dictionnaire de spiritualité, X , 632-644).]
Satan is crafty and dangerous. Fortunately God has given us His Blessed Mother to deal with his wiles
In his first part on The subtleties of satan in his weekly column, Father Stephen Valenta, OFM Conv. outlines how and why the fallen angels seek company by trying to claim as many souls as they can to their agenda. Fortunately for us, we have a special ally to fend off the devil in the Blessed Mother whom God has placed in charge of His army. For Father's column, click on HEARTS TO HEART TALK
The subtleties of satan part one
There is in our very midst a raging battle in progress between the forces of good and the forces of evil. There is an army made up of those whose primary objective in life is to fulfill the wishes of God, the wishes of Him to Whom every creature owes its existence. There is also an army of those who are in opposition to the wishes of the Creator, choosing rather to follow out their own wishes, setting themselves up as gods unto themselves; while the army of those wishing to give their allegiance to God, is being led by Mary, the Mother of God. It is God Himself
Who appointed her as the leader of the army, which fights for that which is good and holy. The army of those who choose to turn thei rbacks on God, wishing to live a life totally independent of Him, is being led by a self-appointed leader, satan. In the final analysis, therefore, this very battle between good and evil, narrows itself especially in our day to a raging conflict between the forces of Mary and the forces of satan.
As leaders of their respective armies, both Mary and satan, have their individual objectives. Originally, satan, as lucifer, mutinied against God. "I refuse to be a servant of Yours," is the paraphrased statement given by him to God. Because lucifer was a top ranking angel, he had many angels under him who followed him in his defection from God. It is not known how many nor what they did once out of the presence of God, but when Adam and Eve were created, they came in on the scene in the person of their leader, now satan.
There are those theologians who posit a possibility that God created human beings to fill the empty places in Heaven left by the fallen angels. When satan and his angels fell out of the bond of love between God and themselves, they turned to hatred. Hating God, satan sought to gain revenge by deceiving Adam and Eve, causing them to take their allegiance away from God in order to capture them for himself. This same expression of revenge is found in our midst this very day.
Mary knows what satan is about and works lovingly to protect her children from his trickery and snares. She has received from the Triune God all that is needed to strengthen her children in such a way that satan's power over them is thwarted. As the Mediatrix of all graces, she places at the disposal of each of ther children who turn to her for assistance, whatever it is that they need in order to become aware of satan's deceptive ways, and be able to overpower him.
It is Mary's wish, as our Mother, as the Mother of Jesus the Redeemer, as the Spouse of the Holy Spirit, and most assuredly, as the beloved Daughter of the Heavenly Father, to carry out the plan that has been set forth by the Father to bring that salvation, merited for mankind by the suffering and death of her Son, to every human being who has the desire to be saved. Her chief objective, therefore, is diametrically opposed to that of satan's. Satan works for the damnation of all human beings, Mary works for their salvation.
NEXT WEEK: Part Two of the sublteties of satan
LITURGY OF THE DAY
Today is the Sixteenth Monday in Ordinary Time. Tomorrow begins a string of three straight saints' feast days beginning with the feast of Saint Lawrence of Brindisi, priest, religious and Doctor of the Church. For the readings, liturgy, meditations and vignette on St. Lawrence, click on LITURGY FOR THE DAY.
Monday, July 20, 1998
First Reading: Micah 6: 1-4, 6-8
Psalms: Psalm 50: 5-6, 8-9, 16-17, 21, 23
Gospel Reading: Matthew 12: 38-42
Tuesday, July 21, 1998
Tuesday July 21:
Sixteenth Tuesday in Ordinary Time and
Feast of Saint Lawrence of Brindisi, Priest, Religious and Docstor of the Church
Green or White vestments
First Reading: Micah 7: 14-15, 18-20
Psalms: Psalm 85: 2-8
Gospel Reading: Matthew 12: 46-50
FEAST OF SAINT LAWRENCE OF BRINDISI, PRIEST, RELIGIOUS AND DOCTOR
Born in Brindisi in the Kingdom of Naples shortly after the Protestant Reformation in 1559, Saint Lawrence of
Brindisi was born as Caesare de Rossi. He is one of the few saints who was born and died on the same day - July 22nd. He was educated by the Conventual Franciscans in Naples and also sent for further studies under his uncle at St. Mark's in Venice. At 16 he joined the Capuchin order in Verona and was given the name
Lawrence. His keen mind and tremendous zeal earned him the honor of studying at the University of Padua
where he mastered several languages from Latin and Greek to Hebrew and Aramaic, not to mention French
and German. After his ordination as a Capuchin priest, he became known far and wide as an astute preacher.
However his administrative prowess led to his election as Provincial for the Order in Genoa, Tuscany and
Venice, in addition to Switzerland where the Reformation had dug in deeply. At the turn of the seventeenth
century Lawrence was sent to the Holy Roman Emperor Rudolph II to seek his military support for Naples and join the Catholic League against the Turks. He was successful and joined the troops on the front line as head
chaplain with only the Crucifix as his weapon. It was enough as he led the men valiantly into battle at
Szekesfehervar where they were victorious for the cause of Christ. A year later he returned to Naples where he was unanimously elected Superior General of the Capuchins. While holding this position of Vicar General he not only established the Order in Austria, Moravia and Tyrol but traveled into the heart of Germany to counter the fall-out effects of Luther's campaign. Rudolph was so impressed with Lawrence that he solicited the saint to
recruit the various German rulers to join the Catholic League in their on-going battles with the Turks. In 1605 the
Capuchins overwhelmingly chose Lawrence to serve another term but he gratefully declined, to concentrate
more on evangelization to other countries. One of these countries included Spain where he convinced the
Spanish King Philip III to join the Catholic League and received imperial permission to found a Capuchin house in Madrid. His success prompted the Holy Father Pope Paul V to appoint Lawrence Papal Nuncio. In 1618 he resigned his position and retreated to his beloved homeland of Brindisi in Naples to live out the rest of his life, but God had other plans. At the persistence of the Neapolitan rulers, he was sent to Spain to seek military
support against the duke of Osuna, a Spanish subject. Again his mission was successful and the duke was
recalled to Spain for a harsh chastising by the king. However, the trip took its toll on Lawrence who had
struggled with the sweltering summer heat and became seriously dehydrated. Shortly after his mission had
been accomplished he fell into a coma and died in Lisbon on his sixtieth birthday - July 22, 1619. Two hundred
and sixty two years later Pope Leo XIII canonized Lawrence and that was topped by Pope John XXIII on July 21, 1959 when he proclaimed Lawrence of Brindisi the distinguished title of Doctor of the Church.
PRAYERS & DEVOTION
MONTH OF THE MOST PRECIOUS BLOOD
July is the month of the PRECIOUS BLOOD OF JESUS and this day is formerly the feast of of this sacrificial shedding our Our Lord's redeeming blood. Below is the prayer of the Most Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Almighty, everlasting God, Who didst appoint Thine only-begotten Son Redeemer of the world, and didst deign to be appeased by the shedding of His Blood; grant, we beseech Thee, that by our solemn service we may so honor what He paid as the price our Redemption, and by Its virtue be so defended here on earth from the evils of this present life, that we may forevermore enjoy Its fruit in Heaven. Throught the same Jesus Christ, Thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end. Amen.
PROVERB OF THE DAY
"Reprove not an arrogant man, lest he hate you; reprove a wise man, and he will love you."
Proverbs 9: 8
Click here to go to SECTION TWO or click here to return to the graphics front page of this issue.
July 20, 1998 volume 9, no. 140 DAILY CATHOLIC