Sunday in the diocese of Kerry Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath Mk 2:28
This day, at thy creating Word
First o’er the earth the light was poured;
O Lord, this day upon us shine,
And fill our souls with light divine.
This day the Lord, for sinners slain,
In might victorious rose again:
O Jesus, may we raised be
From death of sin to life in thee.
This day the Holy Spirit came
With fiery tongues of cloven flame:
O Spirit, fill our hearts this day
With grace to hear and grace to pray.
O Day of light, and life, and grace,
From earthly toil a resting-place!
The hallowed hours, best gift of love,
Give we again to God above !
All praise to God the Father be,
All praise, eternal Son, to thee,
Whom with the Spirit we adore
For ever and for evermore.
The first three verses are three reasons why Sunday is the Christian Sabbath, Sunday is:
- the first day of creation in Genesis
- the day Jesus rose from the dead
- the day of the sending of the Holy Spirit, Pentecost
The fourth verse speaks of Sunday as:
‘from earthly toil a resting place’, Sunday is a day of rest.
The last six lines speaks of giving time to God, adoring and praising Him, Sunday a day to have time for God and for offering Mass with your community.
If Sunday is strong in our Christian practice, our faith communities will continue strong and healthy. If our sense of Sunday continues to weaken and weaken, will the day come when our Christian communities die out?
In 2017 I propose at every level in the diocese we renew our appreciation of Sunday in our Christian lives:
- A day of rest from work, a day for home family and community
- A day for private and family prayer, time for God
- A day for joining in the community Mass
Our focus needs to be on all three dimensions, not just Sunday Mass. Over the year let us ponder all aspects. Let us seek to discover many, many small ideas and initiatives to develop Sunday.
All of this is in the spirit of the first goal of our Pastoral Plan 2016-2020: ‘Develop welcoming, faith-filled communities relevant to the age we live in’. In my message introducing the Pastoral Plan I wrote: “One thing I ask is that we all respect and promote Sunday as the Lord’s Day: a day of rest; a day to turn to God in prayer; and a day to gather to celebrate Mass together. Sunday is the heart of Christian living”.
During the year I will write in turn on each of the three dimensions of Sunday mentioned above. As we set ourselves this task in 2017 let this hymn be our guiding light.
Bishop Ray Browne Ash Wednesday 2017