Pope John Paul II promulgated a document concerning keeping the Sabbath holy in 1998. There can be a tendency today to allow all sorts of work to consume even that one day in the week that we are supposed to keep free for worship of the Lord. God rested on the seventh day after creating the world in the previous six. From the beginning of revelation, then, we can see that God has ordained it that we should rest from our labors weekly in order not just to honor Him, but also simply to allow our body time to refresh itself before embarking on the next week of work. There is a very sensible material reason to respect the Sabbath day, not just a spiritual one!

I know that it is not possible for some to always ensure that they are free on a Sunday in order to make the Sunday their Sabbath. If a person must work on the Sabbath, then they ought to organize the other days of the week so that they can have a substitute Sabbath for the duration of the time where they have to work on a Sunday. It is the duty of Christian employers to ensure that if they employ people on the Sabbath that it is on a roster basis only! Otherwise it is they that take on the responsibility of the sin of not keeping the Sabbath holy! Likewise, all employers, and Christians in particular, must make it possible for their employees to attend Mass on Sunday if they are requesting them to work on that day. Obviously it is better if they do not have to have people working for them on a Sunday, but if it is absolutely necessary, it is the employer’s responsibility to enable their employees to fulfill their Sunday obligation.

The keeping holy of the Sabbath is a constant reminder to us of the need to refocus our lives upon God. During a busy working week it is easy to allow our spiritual practices to wane and thus we can very quickly find ourselves losing contact with our faith. A helpful remedy to this is the practice of always respecting the Sabbath and setting it aside as time to allow the Spirit of God to refresh us spiritually and also allow our bodies to recuperate from the rigors of our working week.

How faithful am I to keeping the Sabbath holy? Do I make it difficult for others to respect this commandment? If so, what must I do to allow my employees the freedom to keep holy the Day of the Lord?

Father, you rested on the seventh day after creating the world in the previous six. Help me to realize that work is not everything and that I need to be continually refreshed in heart mind and soul. Help me to respect the Sabbath as the first step in accomplishing this refreshment.