Friday, January 14, 2011

Let Us Strive to Enter into That Rest

January 14, 2011
Friday of the First Week in Ordinary Time

By Melanie Rigney
For we who believed enter into that rest, just as he has said: As I swore in my wrath, “They shall not enter into my rest,” and yet his works were accomplished at the foundation of the world. For he has spoken somewhere about the seventh day in this manner, and God rested on the seventh day from all his works; and again, in the previously mentioned place, “They shall not enter into my rest.” Therefore, let us strive to enter into that rest, so that no one may fall after the same example of disobedience. (Hebrews 4:3-5, 11)

Do not forget the works of the Lord! (Psalms 78:7)

“Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, pick up your mat and walk’?” (Mark 2:9)

Lord, let me honor Your amazing grace by entering into Your rest.

What does the Sabbath rest mean to us, as Christians, as Catholics, as human beings? All too often, we become as the scribes, squabbling over whether keeping the third commandment means we can’t work, can’t engage in activities such as shopping that result in work for others, can’t use electronic devices. The list of prohibitions and restrictions varies by belief, and for some, it’s long and specific.

“The Sabbath brings everyday work to a halt and provides a respite,” the Catechism of the Catholic Church, second edition advises. “It is a day of protest against the servitude of work and the worship of money.” The poor in particular, the Catechism says, are to “be refreshed” on that day, following God’s example of rest.

As the Catechism notes, we see several instances of Jesus being accused of breaking the Sabbath by healing or other actions, and his response is that the Sabbath was made for man, not the other way around. “With compassion, Christ declares the Sabbath for doing good rather than harm, for saving life rather than killing,” we’re taught. “The Sabbath is the day of the Lord of mercies and a day to honor God.”

Rest is important—for our bodies, our minds, and our souls. It can be difficult not to treat Sunday after or before Mass as just another day, doing the laundry, catching up on the office BlackBerry or e-mail, doing the grocery shopping. But when instead we rest in contemplation or in community, we honor the Lord, and draw the strength to better reflect His Son’s image the rest of the week.

How will you approach the upcoming Sabbath to enter into rest with the Lord?