“The Church has never failed to come together to celebrate the Paschal Mystery.” (6)
In this statement, the Second Vatican Council affirms what the Christians have done to celebrate the Paschal Mystery since the earliest days: keep holy the Lord’s Day, the first day of the week, Sunday. Christians have always kept Sunday holy as it is the Day of Lord’s Resurrection from the dead. This is the core of the Paschal Mystery that the Church celebrates. Blessed Pope John Paul II, in his letter Dies Domini (“The Day of the Lord”) gives Sunday several titles and explains the significance of each.
Dies Domini: Sunday is the day to celebrate the Creator, the Lord God of the universe. Sunday is the Christian Sabbath, a day of rest, a day to honor the Lord.
Dies Christi: Sunday is a weekly celebration of Easter, of Christ and His rising from the dead. It was on a Sunday that Christ rose and appeared to his apostles. And on the next Sunday, the Gospel of John recounts, Jesus appeared again and showed Thomas his wounds.
Dies Ecclesiae: Sunday is the day of the Church. Of the Sunday Eucharist, John Paul writes: “It becomes the paradigm for other Eucharistic celebrations. Each community, gathering all its members for the ‘breaking of the bread’, becomes the place where the mystery of the church is concretely made present.” (DD, #34)
Dies Hominis: Sunday is also the day of humanity. It is a day for us to rest and contemplate God’s great love for us in the Paschal Mystery…a day for family and for relaxation.
Dies Dierum: Sunday is the primordial feast, the “day of days”. Before the Church celebrated the feasts now known as Christmas or Easter, we celebrated Sunday. Almost immediately after Christ’s Ascension to the Father, the first disciples realized the need to gather each Sunday to celebrate the Risen Christ and the presence of His Spirit in their midst.
John Paul writes: “Keeping Sunday holy is the important witness that [Christians] are called to bear, so that every stage of human history will be upheld by hope.” (DD, #75.) This Sunday, let us celebrate with renewed enthusiasm Christ’s victory over death and our hope in the resurrection!