We recently celebrated Columbus Day. While people argue about whether or not this day should be celebrated as a holiday, it is safe to say that most people enjoyed the day off from work. For most it was a day to be with their families. For most children it meant “no school on Monday!”
Monday’s Gospel told us that “…there is something greater than Jonah Here.” (See Luke 11: 29 -32.) This made me think about our society today. Our society knows how to take a day off. I enjoy time with family as much as anybody else and a day off as much as anyone else. Yet, we have an opportunity to take a day off for a reason greater than Columbus every week. Every Sunday we remember the Life, Death and Resurrection of Jesus. Jesus is God. He is greater than Jonah, Columbus and everyone else. Why don’t we close businesses on Sunday anymore? I know that the answer is the Almighty Dollar. We are required and invited to go to Mass by God every Sunday. The Third Commandment does not say “thou shall keep Holy the Sabbath Day unless you work.”
We Catholics have the power to change things by prayer and by example. The last job I held before entering the seminary was working Security for Burns Security at the old Yankee Stadium. One Sunday, we were told we had to be on post at a certain time because the Yankees were playing a 1 pm game on a Sunday. I told my boss I could not be on post at the time he wanted me because the earliest Mass at Saint Joan of Arc was at 8 am. To his credit he told me everyone had to be on post on time except me. He told me to go to Mass and that he would hold my post. My post was a desired one because it was on the third base side, in the front row were many celebrities attended the game. These were the best seats in the House that Ruth Built. When I arrived to work that Sunday and every Sunday after that, he did not mind that I was late, because I was putting God first. You should have seen his reaction when later in the season I gave him my letter stating that I was resigning because I was going to enter the seminary. He thought it was a joke. Thank God it was no joke, and God gave me the gift of the priesthood.
Here are some suggestions if you are stuck working a job on a Sunday. Remember, liturgically Sunday begins Saturday at 4 pm. We can go to any Mass from Saturday at 4 pm until the last Mass on Sunday. Look around at Mass schedules at other parishes. While the last Mass in my parish is at 1:30 pm at Saint Joan of Arc, in the Bronx they have a 7 pm Mass. Also remember that we do not have to go to Mass in a language that we understand, we just have to go to Mass. A final thought is to exchange days off with a pious Muslim. I know of one Muslim who will exchange his day off with any Catholic. The Catholic will work his Friday and he will work their Sunday. The same can be done with the pious Jew. Their holy day is Saturday. If you put God first, you might suffer greatly, but at the end of time when it really matters, you will not regret it.