Catholic teaching about Working on Sunday
This is one of the teachings of the church that might seems strange to some of us especially those who do not study the catechism of the catholic church but the truth is that we still need to know about the teaching of the church about Working on Sunday for our own understanding.
Firstly, let us understand some key points here.
The Sabbath day.
From the creation story, on the seventh day after God has finish his works of creation, the bible recorded in Genesis 2:2-3, that God rested on the seventh day and blessed the day to be a sabbath (a Day of Rest).
Let us recall that the first day of the week is Sunday and the seventh day is Saturday, which is the original Sabbath day but since the resurrection of Christ from the dead occurred on Sunday and also the disciples and the early church always meet on Sunday, SUNDAY became the official day of Worship and the New Sabbath day.
Definition of work
According to Oxford dictionary, work can be defined as an activity involving mental or physical effort done in order to achieve a purpose or result.
In this context, work can be referred to as an activity carried out by an individual to earn a living.
The church teaching about Working on Sunday
The churches teaching on working on Sunday is based on the scriptures particularly on Genesis 23:12, where the bibles say that “for six days you may do your work, but on the seventh day you must rest, that your ox and your ass may rest, and that your son of your maidservant and the alien may be refreshed.”
And also, in Genesis 20:8 where God says “Remember to keep holy the sabbath day.”
Looking at these scriptural passages and the first precept of the church which says “You shall attend Mass on Sundays and on holy days of obligation and rest from servile labor”, we can get a view on the church’s teaching on working on Sunday.
The church’s teaching on working on Sunday requires the faithful to sanctify the day commemorating the Resurrection of the Lord as well as the principal feasts honoring the mysteries of the Lord, the Blessed Virgin Mary and the saints; in the first place, by participating in the Eucharistic celebration, in which the Christian community is gathered, and by resting from those works and activities which could impede such a sanctification of these days.
The Catechism in paragraph 2172 also teaches that “The sabbath brings everyday work to a halt and provides a respite. It is a day of protest against the servitude of work and the worship of money.”
By this statement, we are called to worship God with all our time, effort and concentration on the sabbath day and not worship money or the Enjoyment of this world.
Why should we refrain from work on Sunday?
The catechism answers the question perfectly in paragraph 2185 saying that “On Sundays and other holy days of obligation, the faithful are to refrain from engaging in work or activities that hinder the worship owed to God, the joy proper to the Lord’s Day, the performance of the works of mercy, and the appropriate relaxation of mind and body.”
By this implication, we are to avoid any work that will take us away from the total worship of God on Sunday.
The churches teaching on working on Sunday requires that we observe rest from servile work and also relax our body just as God commanded.
It therefore means that we are to rest on the sabbath day.
Are there People that the church the Church Permit freely to work on Sunday?
Following the churches teaching on working on Sunday, one might really understand that the church aims for the salvation of souls and also the bodily needs of the human race.
The means that the church permits some work to be carried out on a Sunday.
Works or people in these categories involves Health Workers which include Doctors, Nurses, Midwives, Pharmacy and also our local Chemist shops.
Transporters are also not let behind because many people usually stay far from their church and will require an automobile means of transport.
Essential services providers for example security personnel, stall owners, mall, food Eatery etc., can also work on Sunday.
The church also permits others who are not listed above to go for emergency work on Sunday a typical example is a Photographer who is called upon to cover a church marriage to be celebrated on Sunday. The Photographer is duty bound to take pictures and video to preserve the marriage memories of the couple.
Another example is Lawyer who travels to a Muslim country where the Sabbath is not respected and is been employed to judge a court case on Sunday.
This Christian lawyer will should not say “I am a Christian and I observe the Sabbath” and allows the person to lose the case which might even lead to death or a servile punishment.
Are there works that cannot be avoided on Sunday?
The catechism continues on paragraph 2185 saying “Family needs or important social service can legitimately excuse from the obligation of Sunday rest.”
This implies that in as much as we have to rest on Sunday, we should also consider the needs of the family.
Following the teachings of Christ on the sabbath in the Gospel which reports many incidents when Jesus was accused of violating the sabbath law.
But Jesus never fails to respect the holiness of this day. He gives this law its authentic and authoritative interpretation: “The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath.”
With compassion, Christ declares the sabbath for doing good rather than harm, for saving life rather than killing.
We are to take care of our needs on Sunday and while we serve God also in a respectable and religious way.
The churches teaching on working on Sunday teaches strongly that despite these legitimate excuses, the faithful should see to it that legitimate excuses do not lead to a habit.
May God bless you dearest and strength our faith his churches teaching.
Have a wonderful week ahead.