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Sunday, August 7, 2016

Sunday Meditation: How Do You Keep Sunday?

The Ghost of Sunday (and every other day)!
Do you remember the description of Scrooge at the end of A Christmas Carol? He was a man who "knew how to keep Christmas," something he learned from the three ghosts. Perhaps we need three ghosts today to help us "keep" Sunday: the Ghost of Sunday Past, the Ghost of Sunday Present, and the Ghost of Sunday Future. If those ghosts visited us today what would those visits look like?

I remember Sundays past from my own growing up. Many families started the day with worship. Blue laws closed most stores (not bakeries) so that workers could be home with their families. After Mass, Daddy always took us to the bakery to buy "kuchen" for breakfast. Many families had a big midday meal around the table with parents, children, and often extended family together. Remember Cheaper by the Dozen and the Sunday ride in the family car?

At our house, Sunday was a day when opera was playing on the phonograph and my siblings and I were often gathered around the table playing Monopoly, Chinese checkers, Cribbage, Canasta, or Parcheesi. Watchwords for the day would be faith, family, food, and fun. It brings a smile to my face to remember it.

What would the Ghost of Sunday Present show us? Likely we would find ourselves at the mall, the "temple" where many worship the idol of consumption. Next time you're there, note all the marble and fancy decorations, often more elaborate than a church. I think the spirit would show us all the folks out making a buck, many forced to work by companies that put the bottom line ahead of families. He would point out the shoppers rushing from store to store in pursuit of bargains. Maybe he would take us to Hobby Lobby and Chik-Fil-A to show the contrast with those few businesses that honor the spirit of the "day of rest" by closing. Perhaps it would wake us up to see Sunday observed as just one more day of ordinary business with no thought for the Lord's reminder that there are six days for business and only one set aside for God and for rest. Would that help us see Sunday as a precious gift?

And that brings us to the Ghost of Sunday Future. What will he show us? Let us pray that, with the 100th anniversary of Fatima approaching, people will reflect on the real meaning of Sunday and deliberately choose a better way, one that treats Sunday as a holy day set apart for the Lord and the little domestic church of the family. Sunday, indeed, is a gift to man, a day to worship and thank our God as a community, a great day to throw rocks in the river with a toddler or catch frogs, to write a letter to family member far away, to visit a sick friend in a nursing home or take a leisurely walk in a flower-filled garden. How sad to miss the blessing of Sunday by making it just one more ordinary day.

How do you "keep" Sunday. Do you think there is a better way? Let's all reflect on the meaning of the Lord's Day. Perhaps the song from Godspel gives us the right idea on some Sunday goals. Help us, Lord, "to see thee more clearly, love thee more dearly, [and] follow thee more nearly day by day."

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