Skip to comments.Early Church Fathers - Worship on Sabbath or Sunday
Posted on 03/24/2007 3:10:20 PM PDT by NYer
Contrary to the teaching of Seventh Day Adventists the early Church gathered for worship on the Lords Day (Sunday), not Saturday, in honor of the day our Lord rose from the dead.
But every Lord's day . . . gather yourselves together and break bread, and give thanksgiving after having confessed your transgressions, that your sacrifice may be pure. But let no one that is at variance with his fellow come together with you until they be reconciled, that your sacrifice may not be profaned (Didache 14 [A.D. 70]).
Ignatius of Antioch
[T]hose who were brought up in the ancient order of things [i.e., Jews] 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 (Letter to the Magnesians 8 [A.D. 110]).
The apostles further appointed; On the first day of the week let there be service, and the reading of the holy scriptures, and the oblation [sacrifice of the Mass], because on the first day of the week [Sunday] our Lord rose from the place of the dead, and on the first day of the week he arose upon the world, and on the first day of the week he ascended up to heaven, and on the first day of the week he will appear at last with the angels of heaven (Didascalia 2 [A.D. 225]).
The sixth day [Friday] is called parasceve, that is to say, the preparation of the kingdom. . . . On this day also, on account of the passion of the Lord Jesus Christ, we make either a station to God or a fast. On the seventh day he rested from all his works, and blessed it, and sanctified it. On the former day we are accustomed to fast rigorously, that on the Lord's Day we may go forth to our bread with giving of thanks. Let the parasceve become a rigorous fast, lest we should appear to observe any Sabbath with the Jews . . . which Sabbath he [Christ] in his body abolished (The Creation of the World [A.D. 300]).
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. 325]).
[T]he day of his [Christ's] light . . . was the day of his resurrection from the dead, which they say, as being the one and only truly holy day and the Lord's day, is better than any number of days as we ordinarily understand them, and better than the days set apart by the Mosaic Law for feasts, new moons, and Sabbaths, which the Apostle [Paul] teaches are the shadow of days and not days in reality (Proof of the Gospel 4:16:186 [A.D. 319]).
The Sabbath was the end of the first creation, the Lord's day was the beginning of the second, in which he renewed and restored the old in the same way as he prescribed that they should formerly observe the Sabbath as a memorial of the end of the first things, so we honor the Lord's day as being the memorial of the new creation (On Sabbath and Circumcision 3 [A.D. 345]).
Cyril of Jerusalem
Fall not away either into the sect of the Samaritans or into Judaism, for Jesus Christ has ransomed you. Stand aloof from all observance of Sabbaths and from calling indifferent meats common or unclean (Catechetical Lectures 4:37 [A.D. 350]).
Council of Laodicea
Christians should not Judaize and should not be idle on the Sabbath, but should work on that day; they should, however, particularly reverence the Lord's Day and, if possible, not work on it, because they were Christians (canon 29 [A.D. 360]).
When he said, "You shall not kill" . . . he did not add "because murder is a wicked thing." The reason was that conscience had taught this beforehand, and he speaks thus, as to those who know and understand the point. Wherefore when he speaks to us of another commandment, not known to us by the dictate of conscience, he not only prohibits, but adds the reason. When, for instance, he gave commandment concerning the Sabbath "On the seventh day you shall do no work" he subjoined also the reason for this cessation. What was this? "Because on the seventh day God rested from all his works which he had begun to make" [Ex. 20:10]. And again: "Because you were a servant in the land of Egypt" [Deut. 21:18]. For what purpose then, I ask, did he add a reason respecting the Sabbath, but did no such thing in regard to murder? Because this commandment was not one of the leading ones. It was not one of those which were accurately defined of our conscience, but a kind of partial and temporary one, and for this reason it was abolished afterward. But those which are necessary and uphold our life are the following: '"You shall not kill... You shall not commit adultery... You shall not steal." On this account he adds no reason in this case, nor enters into any instruction on the matter, but is content with the bare prohibition (Homilies on the Statues 12:9 [A.D. 387]).
You have put on Christ, you have become a member of the Lord and been enrolled in the heavenly city, and you still grovel in the Law [of Moses]? How is it possible for you to obtain the kingdom? Listen to Paul's words, that the observance of the Law overthrows the gospel, and learn, if you will, how this comes to pass, and tremble, and shun this pitfall. Why do you keep the Sabbath and fast with the Jews? (Homilies on Galatians 2:17 [A.D. 395]).
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. Otherwise what apology will he make to God who does not assemble on that day . . . in which is performed the reading of the prophets, the preaching of the gospel, the oblation of the sacrifice, the gift of the holy food (Apostolic Constitutions 2:7:60 [A.D. 400]).
Isaiah 1:13 - God begins to reveal His displeasure with the Sabbath.
Matt. 28:1; Mark 16:2,9; John 20:1,19- the Gospel writers purposely reveal Jesus' resurrection and appearances were on Sunday. This is because Sunday had now become the most important day in the life of the Church.
Acts 20:7 - this text shows the apostolic tradition of gathering together to celebrate the Eucharist on Sunday, the "first day of the week." Luke documents the principle worship was on Sunday because this was one of the departures from the Jewish form of worship.
1 Cor. 16:2 - Paul instructs the Corinthians to make contributions to the churches "on the first day of the week," which is Sunday. This is because the primary day of Christian worship is Sunday.
Col. 2:16-17 - Paul teaches that the Sabbath was only a shadow of what was fulfilled in Christ, and says "let no one pass judgment any more over a Sabbath."
2 Thess. 2:15 - we are to hold fast to apostolic tradition, whether it is oral or written. The 2,000 year-old tradition of the Church is that the apostles changed the Sabbath day of worship from Saturday to Sunday.
Heb. 4:8-9 - regarding the day of rest, if Joshua had given rest, God would not later speak of "another day," which is Sunday, the new Sabbath. Sunday is the first day of the week and the first day of the new creation brought about by our Lord's resurrection, which was on Sunday.
Heb. 7:12 - when there is a change in the priesthood, there is a change in the law as well. Because we have a new Priest and a new sacrifice, we also have a new day of worship, which is Sunday.
Rev 1:10 - John specifically points out that he witnesses the heavenly Eucharistic liturgy on Sunday, the Lord's day, the new day of rest in Christ.
Matt. 16:19; 18:18 - whatever the Church binds on earth is bound in heaven. Since the resurrection, Mass has been principally celebrated on Sunday.
I usually go to church Sunday evening at 5:00. That's when there are the most seats available at our very crowded parish!
"I usually go to church Sunday evening at 5:00. That's when there are the most seats available at our very crowded parish!"
Well, that's certainly better than 5:00 pm on Saturday! After the Vatican II change to the vernacular, Dad used to call people who went to that Mass "Episcopalian Jews". :)
C/O Caucus Patristics ping.
Our 5:00 p.m. Saturday Mass is packed, plus we often have people at camp on Saturdays. (Tonight, Der Prinz and the little girls are at the Catholic Scouting whoop-up, having Mass with the Bishop.)
I actually like a Sunday morning service best, no later than 9:00 p.m., but there's not room for us unless we get there so early that the kids are impossible.
Liturgically, Sunday begins with 1st Vespers of Sunday i.e.
Saturday evening and ends with 2nd Vespers on Sunday. In
recent years this has been the primary reason for allowing
the Sunday Eucharist to be celebrated the evening before. Personally, I am opposed to a Saturday night Mass that satisfies the Sunday obligation but do know it is licit.
Our Holy Father said this in paragraph 73 of the recently
published Postsynodal Exhortation "Sacramentum Caritatis":
"....While recognizing that Saturday evening, beginning with First Vespers, is already a part of Sunday and a time when the Sunday obligation can be fulfilled -- we need to remember that it is Sunday itself that is meant to be kept holy, lest it end up as a day 'empty of God."
This all reminds me of the teaching: when we speak of the Lord's "hour", it means His suffering; when we speak of the Lord's "day" it means His victory. Scripturally, hour indicates darkness or pain and day indicates victory or completeness.
Thus, the "Lord's Day" is victory--Resurrection from pain to glory.
Personally, I tend to think about God and worship Him every single day, regardless of what the calendar says.
However, a two day weekend is nifty. ;)
The premise behind offering Mass on Saturday at 5pm was to accommodate those who work in the service industries - doctors, nurses, pilots, stewardesses, et al - whose jobs prevent them from attending liturgy on Sunday. It was never intended to replace Sunday worship. A natural outgrowth of this Saturday Mass has been the increase in attendance of other workers who wish to sleep in on Sunday morning. None of the above deserve to be labeled as "Episcopalian Jews".
I hope you were up bright and early this morning, like me, and watched EWTN's repeat coverage of the Consecration and Dedication of the Oratory. This was followed by a replay of Matins from earlier this week. Following these broadcasts, I immersed myself in the Safro (Morning) prayers of the Maronite Divine Office. I can't imagine beginning a day without those prayers!
"None of the above deserve to be labeled as "Episcopalian Jews"."
Too late. I'd pass on your comment, but Dad's been gone 7 years, NYer. In any event, what do you expect from an old Irishman who could recite the ENTIRE MASS in Latin from memory until the day he died! :)
I am bummed you protected this thread.
Sorry about the loss of your Dad! Judging from your comments, he's probably "up there" with my grandfather, singing "When Iriish Eyes are Smiling", both engaged in a discussion of the modern day Mass. My grandfather has no doubt convinced your Dad that these changes are the result of "those rockets they keep shooting up there". :-)
Contrary to the teaching of Seventh Day Adventists
"The (Catholic) Church changed the observance of the Sabbath to Sunday by right of the divine, infallible authority given to her by her Founder, Jesus Christ. The Protestant, claiming the Bible to be the only guide of faith, has no warrant for observing Sunday. In this matter the Seventh Day Adventist is the only consistent Protestant." "The Question Box," The Catholic Universe Bulletin, 69 (August 14, 1942), 4.
I have a friend who is a Seventh Day Adventis. She says they follow Jewish Laws including the dietary laws.
I don't like going to Mass on Saturday unless you absolutely positively will be traveling or something.
The average age at my previous Parish for the 5:00 PM Mass on Saturday was about 78. It was largely an oldsters "klatch" at which hearing-impaired elderly began to gather as early as 4:20 PM and then spoke about 50 decibels too loud about their various "procedures" up to the very moment Mass physically began (they knew because the priest coughed loudly into his microphone!). They then left early to go to the local diner where the conversations continued.
I left and found my new home 5 years ago. Sunday Mass at 10:00 is so quiet you can hear a pin drop. Nobody would think of speaking aloud unless it was to tell an usher the Church was on fire and that would be done in a hushed whisper.
**The average age at my previous Parish for the 5:00 PM Mass on Saturday was about 78. It was largely an oldsters "klatch" at which hearing-impaired elderly began to gather as early as 4:20 PM and then spoke about 50 decibels too loud**
Amazing. Although we do have some of the older parishioners, this Mass is basically a family Mass at our church. Some even come back for the 10:30 Mass Sunday morning!
We handled the extra chatting by starting a half hour early with a Rosary -- quiets the oldies down considerably -- and they don't start talking again! WooHoo!