Jesus speaks in today’s gospel about the reign of God. It is like a mustard seed. It is like leaven.
When we think of the reign of God, we picture a world of justice, of peace, of compassion and love. Somehow we forget one obvious part of that reign, the "keeping of the Sabbath." Keeping the Lord’s Day holy has gotten lost among all the busyness of modern life.
Instead of prayer, family and leisure time, Sunday has become just another day for work and shopping. Even early morning sports events are scheduled, making it difficult for kids and their parents to get to church. People are being pulled in many different directions and getting bent out of shape. Is it any wonder that we hear news about suicides, spousal abuse and all sorts of drug and alcohol related problems? The sale of antidepressants continues to rise as the rat race shifts into higher gear.
The Third Commandment is a weekly call to quiet down and "recalculate." Am I leading a balanced life? Do I have my priorities correct? Is the pressure to work and get ahead running my life? Am I getting enough recreation and sleep? Is God number one in my life? Do I enjoy praying for and with my family and friends? Do I commune with nature and dine on good literature and art?
Sunday is just one day out of seven. But if it is kept well, we will be sowing seeds that can make us grow and feel whole. It Sunday is kept well, it can be the leaven that transforms us into wise and happy people. And we will not be far from the reign of God.
Fr. Alan Phillip, C.P. is a member of the Passionist Community at Mater Dolorosa Retreat Center, Sierra Madre, California.