We Catholics do not celebrate Sabbath – as a day of rest – on a Saturday but we celebrate our day of rest on Sunday, the glorious day of Jesus’s Resurrection.
Because Sunday is the day of Jesus Resurrection, we pay our highest form of worship to God on Sunday.
Thus, we make Sunday always a special day in honor of Jesus glorious resurrection, making it a day solely dedicated to Jesus and subsequently, making it the day of rest for Catholics.
Hence, on Sunday we deem it proper to abstain from all work, and all other business concerns, that will render us unable to give worship to God – through the Holy Mass.
It is unfortunate, of course, that nowadays many – Catholics and non Catholics alike – no longer observe a day of rest (be it Saturday or Sunday) for the Lord.
Why did God require a Day of Sabbath Rest?
“Remember the Sabbath Day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work; but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God; in it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your manservant, or your maidservant, or your cattle, or the sojourner who is within your gates; for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and hallowed it.Mark 2:27
God’s word above indicates several reasons why God requires a day of Sabbath rest for the Israelites.
But the primary reason seems to be the fact that they needed a day to commune with God, their source of strength, and the source of all graces. God wanted them to commune with Him through a day’s rest, after spending six days of work.
God even showed the Israelites how to do Sabbath rest when He himself took a rest on the seventh day after He created the world and all the things in it.
The Old Testament was full of commands from God for the Israelites to follow. It was like God was parenting his children during those times teaching them how to do it right, or how to live right.
God even wrote personally in a tablet of stone the 10 Commandments.
So that the people will be able to observe His rules closely and not depart from them so easily.
What’s so Important about a sabbath rest?
Obviously, a day of rest is very important for man. He needs it to refresh and renew himself from all of his life’s work.
Thus, in the Old Testament, God requires the Israelites to observe a Sabbath rest.
And when God saw how the Israelites were enslaved and forced to do hard labor in Egypt He had them leave the country.
God saw how the Egyptian pharaoh increased their days and bulk of work when they were increasing fast in number, afraid that they will grow in number more than them, the Egyptians.
It was said that God merely wanted the Egyptian pharaoh to allow the Israelites to spend a day of rest in the hillside but the pharaoh did not allow this.
And so, God raised a man who will remove the Israelites from Egypt and lead them out to the Land of Promise. That man was Moses.
Is a Sabbath rest still necessary in today’s modern world?
God’s command to the Israelites three or four thousand years ago (maybe more?) to observe a Sabbath rest is still as necessary in today’s modern world as it was in the ancient times.
People in today’s modern and fast-paced world are so badly in need of time to refresh and renew themselves from all works.
Obviously, God instituted Sabbath rest for man’s benefit. As Jesus likewise said in one of his showdowns with the pharisees.
‘ . . . . . The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.Mark 2:27
God required it merely for man’s benefit.
If we don’t include a sabbath rest or a day of rest in our present lifestyle we will not be able to live a life of sanity here in the world.
Because we are not superheroes. We are merely human beings now, stripped of super qualities that we were infused with in the beginnng.
We fell as God’s people, who in the beginning were made in God’s image and likeness. We are now bound to commit mistake, and fail.
The only way we can escape the curse of our fallen nature is to follow God’s command, including the command to observe a rest day dedicated to Him.
Obviously, the reason why depression, anxiety, mental illness (even mediocrity in any undertaking) exist and are rampant and continuously rising today is because of our failure to observe a sabbath rest with and for the Lord, as God commanded.
How much helpful (or healthful) it would be if we observe a day of rest in our life and live well and victoriously in this world – free from all stress, anxiety, depression, panic attacks and many more mentally-related concerns.
How far more wonderful it would be if we observe our sabbath day on the same day that Jesus resurrected from the dead on that most beautiful Sunday morning.
After all, following Jesus resurrection from the dead all things have become new.
‘Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!’2 Corinthians 5:17
The coming of the new thing (new creation) has been foretold thousands of years ago. That new thing was Jesus. That new thing was the coming of the Messiah. And it is much, much greater than the former things.
Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it?Isaiah 43:18-19
Therefore, Catholics celebrate a day of rest on Sunday because it is the day that Jesus resurrected from the dead, and Jesus coming is far more greater than the former things (of old).