Ephesians 6.10-20; Psalm 143; Luke 13.31-35
“On the third day [I shall] obtain my end.” Throughout the Gospels, Jesus is portrayed as an observant Jew, obedient to the commandments. It was “his custom” to go to the Synagogue on the Sabbath Day. [Luke 4.16; Mark 1.21] Nevertheless Jesus clearly foretold both his crucifixion and third-day resurrection from the dead. [Matthew 16.21] The resurrection, which was manifested “when the Sabbath was past” [Matthew 28.1], freed Jesus from the boundaries of both space and time which he had voluntarily accepted in his coming to earth in flesh.
Jesus rose from the dead on the first day of the week. [John 20.1] Though some of the first generation of Christians continued to observe the Sabbath, it is clear that before the end of the first century AD most Christians had come to replace that observance with a celebration of the Lord’s Day. [Acts 20.7; Apocalypse 1.10] Jesus’ resurrection occurred on the “eighth” day of a momentous week of sacrifice and prayer, an eighth day which overwhelmed the cycles of human history. (For this reason baptismal fonts are ordinarily octagonal.)
Our Catholic “Sunday obligation” captures the centrality of the Lord’s Day. The remainder of the week flows from the gift of the first day. On this day we are invited to be gathered [Hebrews 10.25] under the protective wings of our heavenly Father. [Deuteronomy 32.11]