Sunday: Escape from the Daily Reality

God and My Work: A series on the role of the laity in the Church. Part 2.
by Father Luis Garza, LC | Source:

Another of the big conceptual difficulties that seem to exist for a correct evangelization of the working world is the way people view Sunday. In a way, this incorrect vision is a result of the previous point. If one’s daily work is not an object of true evangelization, then the presence of Catholics in the parish on Sunday will be only a means of escaping from their daily reality. It is not and cannot be the day that gives meaning to daily work, since faith and work are two realities that cannot be harmoniously integrated. Thus it happens that instead of a Catholic’s presence in the parish helping him to gain a better understanding of his life and action in the world, it may only accentuate the distance between his life in the world and his life as a Catholic.

The desire is to give continuity and to create a bridge between Sunday and Monday. Pope John Paul II already expressed it in his apostolic letter Dies Domini, saying that “Sunday is like the soul of the other days” and “Sustaining Christian life as it does, Sunday has the additional value of being a testimony and a proclamation. As a day of prayer, communion, and joy, Sunday resounds throughout society, emanating vital energies and reasons for hope. Sunday is the proclamation that time, in which he who is the Risen Lord of history makes his home, is not the grave of our illusions but the cradle of an ever new future, an opportunity given to us to turn the fleeting moments of this life into seeds of eternity. ”1 

Not to achieve this unity and relation is particularly damaging, since instead of helping the faithful to connect and integrate their life, they end up alienated and “don’t understand” the message of Sunday because they have no reference point to what they live, and it is not at all useful to them. They have no chance of understanding that message, because in reality, it is not for them. Since this unity has not been achieved, it is not surprising that in the modern urban world, Sunday religious practice is dwindling, and people prefer a pastime like sports over Mass to escape from a daily reality that oppresses them.

Instead of resolving the problem in depth, there has been a temptation to make Sunday Mass more attractive by turning into one more new pastime. More than one pastor has found himself “in need” of turning the Mass into a kind of circus, which has only ended up distancing the faithful even more. The Mass does not attract anyone by special effects, but by its own mystery. The solution is not to change the essence of the celebration of the Eucharist. The Mass should be what it is: the celebration and real commemoration of the death and resurrection of Christ for the salvation of all. This is the foundation of Christian life.

What must change is this: the parish should not be limited to the celebration of the Eucharist on Sunday, but should serve as a catalyst so that the faithful find themselves in a community and can encourage and strengthen each other, finding guidance for their daily work, and reinforce their commitment as Christians in their work and family and social life. The parish is not only a place of worship; it is the Church brought to life in a specific territory or with a certain type of faithful, and it should welcome the charisms and inspirations of the Holy Spirit to bring Christ into all of the realities of men’s lives. Although the value of a Mass is infinite and can generate apostles and witnesses, the parish would betray the faithful if it did not give them motivation, direction, and training to be “the light of the world and the salt of the earth” (Mt. 5:13-14). And it takes more than 30 minutes on Sunday to achieve that.

1 Dies Domini, nos. 83 and 84.

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