(Dedicated to the Holy Spirit and all those seeking to know the Truth)
Rev Fr. Kevin Oselumhense Anetor, Rev. Fr. Evaristus I. Okeke and Ezekafor David Anthony: firstname.lastname@example.org or text message only to 08112816095.
WHY DO CATHOLICS WORSHIP ON SUNDAYS? PART 2
Welcome to the LESSON NINETEEN in our CATECHESIS CORNER. We appreciate your reading of this corner. We welcome your questions regarding the Catholic faith through email@example.com or text message only to 08112816095, keep it on. We will keep responding to your questions privately or will make them the theme of future lessons. Help more people to understand the Catholic Faith by inviting them to read this “Catechesis Corner”.
LET US PRAY: Holy Spirit of the Living God, as we read this Catechesis Corner, enlighten our minds to know the Truth, strengthen our hearts to accept the Truth and cause us to live for the Truth. Through this Catechesis Corner, restore those who have fallen from the Truth, convince the doubting hearts, clarify the confused mind and lead us all to the fullness of Truth through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
In this we shall look into historical testimonies of early Christians and writings to see that believers in the New Testament worship on Sundays. Below are key quotes from the early Church Fathers that clearly show that the Christian church gathered on the first day of the week:
The Didache: “But every Lord’s day do ye gather yourselves together, and break bread, and give thanksgiving after having confessed your transgressions, that your sacrifice may be pure.” (Didache Chapter XIV.11 —Christian Assembly on the Lord’s Day. 14 [A.D. 70]).
Ignatius of Antioch: “If, therefore, those who were brought up in the ancient order of things have come to the possession of a new hope, no longer observing the Sabbath, but living in the observance of the Lord’s Day, on which also our life has sprung up again by Him and by His death—whom some deny, by which mystery we have obtained faith, and therefore endure, that we may be found the disciples of Jesus Christ, our only Master” – (Letter to the Magnesians(shorter) Chapter IX.—Let us live with Christ [A.D. 110]).
Justin Martyr: “But Sunday is the day on which we all hold our common assembly, because it is the first day on which God, having wrought a change in the darkness and matter, made the world; and Jesus Christ our Saviour on the same day rose from the dead. For He was crucified on the day before that of Saturn (Saturday); and on the day after that of Saturn, which is the day of the Sun, having appeared to His apostles and disciples, He taught them these things, which we have submitted to you also for your consideration.” – (First Apology Chapter LXVII.—Weekly worship of the Christians. [A.D. 155]).
Tertullian: “[L]et him who contends that the Sabbath is still to be observed as a balm of salvation, and circumcision on the eighth day . . . teach us that, for the time past, righteous men kept the Sabbath or practiced circumcision, and were thus rendered ‘friends of God.” – (An Answer to the Jews Chapter II. —The Law Anterior to Moses. [A.D. 203]).
Constitutions of the holy apostles : But from the even of the fifth day till cock-crowing break your fast when it is daybreak of the first day of the week, which is the Lord’s day.
(Book V. Sec. III.—On Feast Days and Fast Days – Concerning the Watching All the Night of the Great Sabbath, and Concerning the Day of the Resurrection. XIX)
But assemble yourselves together every day, morning and evening, singing psalms and praying in the Lord’s house: in the morning saying the sixty-second Psalm, and in the evening the hundred and fortieth, but principally on the Sabbath-day. And on the day of our Lord’s resurrection, which is the Lord’s day, meet more diligently, sending praise to God that made the universe by Jesus, and sent Him to us, and condescended to let Him suffer, and raised Him from the dead.
(Book II. Sec. VII.—On Assembling in the Church. That Every Christian Ought to Frequent the Church Diligently Both Morning and Evening LIX ).
Origen: “If it be objected to us on this subject that we ourselves are accustomed to observe certain days, as for example the Lord’s day, the Preparation, the Passover, or Pentecost, I have to answer, that to the perfect Christian, who is ever in his thoughts, words, and deeds serving his natural Lord, God the Word, all his days are the Lord’s, and he is always keeping the Lord’s day.” -(Origen Against Celsus. Book 8 Chapter XXII.)
Peter, Archbishop of Alexandria: “No one shall find fault with us for observing the fourth day of the week, and the preparation, on which it is reasonably enjoined us to fast according to the tradition. On the fourth day, indeed, because on it the Jews took counsel for the betrayal of the Lord; and on the sixth, because on it He himself suffered for us. But the Lord’s day we celebrate as a day of joy, because on it He rose again, on which day we have received it for a custom not even to bow the knee.” -(The Canonical Epistle Canon XV.)
Cyprian: “For because the eighth day, that is, the first day after the Sabbath, was to be that on which the Lord should rise again, and should quicken us, and give us circumcision of the spirit, the eighth day, that is, the first day after the Sabbath, and the Lord’s day, went before in the figure; which figure ceased when by and by the truth came, and spiritual circumcision was given to us.”- (Epistle LVIII.2 To Fidus, on the Baptism of Infants. 4)
Eusebius of Caesarea : “They [the early saints of the Old Testament] did not care about circumcision of the body, neither do we [Christians]. They did not care about observing Sabbaths, nor do we. They did not avoid certain kinds of food, neither did they regard the other distinctions which Moses first delivered to their posterity to be observed as symbols; nor do Christians of the present day do such things”- (Church History 1:4:8 [A.D. 312]).
Council of Laodicea : “Christians must not judaize by resting on the Sabbath, but must work on that day, rather honouring the Lord’s Day; and, if they can, resting then as Christians. But if any shall be found to be judaizers, let them be anathema from Christ. -(Canon Canon XXIX. [A.D. 360]).
Augustine of Hippo: “He brought it about that His body rested from all its works on Sabbath in the tomb, and that His resurrection on the third day, which we call the Lord’s Day, the day after the Sabbath, and therefore the eighth, proved the circumcision of the eighth day to be also prophetical of Him.” – (Reply to Faustus the Manichæan. Book XVI.-29)
Thank you dear DSD Users for reading through. See you in our next edition, and endeavour to carry out the study guide below little by little daily before the next lesson/edition. Help to deepen faith’s understanding by giving a copy of DSD to someone and invite him or her to read the Catechesis Corner.
FURTHER BIBLE READING: Get and read any of the following books:
Willy Rordorf, Sunday: The History of the Day of Rest and Worship in the Earliest Centuries of the Christian Church (London: SCM, 1968).
Herold Weiss, A Day of Gladness: The Sabbath among Jews and Christians in Antiquity (Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press, 2003)
CATECHESIS STUDY GUIDE: CCC No. 2168 – 2192
TAKE HOME QUESTION: WHY DOES THE CATHOLIC CHURCH WORSHIP ON SUNDAYS?
Please send all your answers, questions and inquiries relating to the Catholic faith or suggestions on the Catechesis Corner, preferable via our email: firstname.lastname@example.org or text message only to 08112816095.