Day 46: Set Apart for God

Exodus 30:22-23 Blessed oil is used in several of the Sacraments of the Church including the Sacrament of Holy Orders. Anointing signifies a consecration to inaugurate a particular MISSION and is a sign of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. The Hebrew messiah, which means “the anointed one” (in Greek, christos, meaning “christ”), is the title of Jesus as the Anointed One promised by God to redeem the world. (CCC 436, 453, 1293-1294)

Ch 31:15-17 The Sabbath ordinance is repeated, again asking the people to set the Sabbath apart for worship, to contemplate and acknowledge the magnificence of God’s creation, and to recall Israel’s liberation from the oppression of the Egyptians. (CCC 2171)

Ch 31:18 The hymn Veni Creator Spiritus refers to the Holy Spirit as the “finger of the Father’s right hand”; It is sung at Vespers (Evening Prayer) on Pentecost and many other events in the Church’s life when the Holy Spirit’s assistance is sought. (CCC 700, 2056)

Psalm 115 Our God is in...whatever he pleases: This psalm acclaims powerfully the God of Israel as the one true God, while the other alleged deities are mere inanimate objects of human origin. God who is Almighty knows no rival to his power. Furthermore, God, in his infinite love and might, provides for the needs of his people, both physical and spiritual. Those who make them are like them: Just as the graven images of idols are spiritually lifeless, so is the case among those who worship them. 

May you be blessed...heaven and earth: The term “heaven and earth” means ALL creation. God alone made all that exists and, therefore, is the source of knowledge of every created thing in relation to himself. He reveals himself through creation since the effect of any work reflects its cause. This indirect revelation of God through his creation was greatly enhanced through his direct Revelation to the people of Israel. (CCC 268-269, 287, 303, 325-327, 2112)

Whenever Israel was defeated in battle or easel to foreign lands, the taunt from its pagan neighbors would be heard: “Where is your God now?” Periodically, the Lord would allow foreign powers to have their way with his people, causing them great suffering. However, God permitted these hardships to provoke a repentance by which they would commit themselves again to the fidelity to the covenant. Here, the psalmist spoke with the wisdom gleaned from Israel’s long history: God is our help and shield who saves and defends us. The pagans have no validity to their taunting; their gods are inanimate objects made by human hands, while the God of Israel is the ETERNAL AND LIVING GOD, Ever-present and All-powerful. (Cf. St. John Paul II, General Audience, September 1, 2004)

(*The Didache Bible RSV-CE Ignatius Edition, 2006)

Prayer by Fr Mike: “Father in Heaven, we do give you praise right now and forevermore, as you continue to reveal your heart to us, as you continue to recall us to give you our hearts and you make those hearts holy, because you are the Lord and you are the one who makes us holy. You are the one who is the source of all goodness. Every time we come into contact with you, we come into contact with true goodness. Help us, Lord, today to hear your word and to allow that word to transform our minds, to transform our hearts, and to transform the way that we see this world. We make this in the mighty name of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.”


The Third Commandment is to "Keep holy the sabbath." How did the Church ultimately switch our weekly day of worship to God from the sabbath to Sunday? In Exodus 31, God specifies that the sabbath is a sign between him and the people of Israel, as a perpetual covenant, like circumcision (Gen 17:13).  As we see in Acts 15, the Church ruled that the Gentiles would not be burdened with circumcision, and that it was no longer required to be in the new convenant.  It is notable that since God said the sabbath was for Israel, and that throughout the Old Testament there was never any command to observe the sabbath under pain of death prior to Moses, nor any conviction of the Gentiles for not keeping the sabbath by the propets, we see the Church's conclusion that the moral law of the Third Commandment was to set aside a day for worship, and the particular day that is the sabbath was a ceremonial aspect of the Law, which switched to the First Day, the Lord's Day, in the the New Covenant.  

This is why Paul wrote to the Colossians (dominantly Gentiles) not to let anyone pass judgement on them with regard to a sabbath, a shadow of what would come -- The Lord's day.

Where the sabbath is Israel's holy day of the week to rest and worship God in the Old Covenant, the Church rests and worships God on Sunday -- the first day of the week, aka "The Lord's Day," as attested by the authors of the New Testament, and the earliest extrabiblical writing of the Church.

The significance of the change from the sabbath to the Lord's day is the creation that each onepoints to:  For Israel, the sabbath pointed backwards to Genesis, when creation was perfect and God rested on the seventh day, a time before sin and death came into the world through Adam.  Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians makes the distinction that death came by one man, and the defeat of death by Christ.

St. Athaniasius connected the sabbath to the first creation in contrast to The Lord's Day, the day Christ conquered death by rising from the dead, the start of a "New Creation" that points forward to the Second Coming at the end of time.  It points to our hope that when Christ returns, he will raise the dead, usher in a new heaven and a new earth, and eliminate sin and death, making all things new (Rev 21:5) and perfect once more.

The death penalty for breaking the Mosaic Law serves as a prefigurement to mortal sin:  Where Israel's covenant was in the flesh, the death penalty was a physical death.  In the New Covenant, where we are born of the Spirit, committing a mortal sin means spiritual death.  Just as profaning the sabbath meant death in the flesh, deliberately skipping Mass on Sunday is a mortal sin.