Liturgy Corner - November 7, 2021 Sunday:

This is the day when members of the Church gather for the celebration of the Eucharist—since apostolic times.  While Jews who had become Christians continued to observe the Sabbath each Saturday, they also celebrated Sunday as the new Christian day of worship because it was the day of Christ’s Resurrection.  In apostolic times, the Mass was held within the frame of a ritual meal (an agape) held on Saturday night after sunset.  Soon after the close of the 1st century, the Eucharistic celebration was separated from the meal in many places and transferred to the early morning hours of Sunday.  It was made part of a service according to the Jewish custom of worshiping on the Day of the Lord.  The service was held in the form of a vigil or night watch before dawn on Sunday.  It usually consisted of a sermon, prayers, singing of Psalms, and readings from Holy Scripture.  A detailed description of the Sunday Mass is found in the Apologia of Saint Justin Martyr, who died for the faith about 165; “We meet on Sunday because it is the first day, on which God created the world, and because our Savior, Jesus Christ, rose from the dead on the same day.”   By the end of the 4th century, this morning celebration on Sunday had replaced in all Christian communities the original Saturday night meal and Eucharist.  After the Church obtained freedom under Constantine in 313, the hour of Sunday Mass was changed from dawn to 9:00 in the morning.  The early Christians referred to Sunday as the “Day of the Lord.”  In 1998, Pope John Paul II issued an Apostolic Letter, Dies Domini, “The Lord’s Day,” on the importance of keeping holy the Lord’s Day.  Gay Snell