How to keep the sabbath holy

In today’s Gospel reading, let us also recall the third of the Ten Commandments given by God to Moses:

“Remember the sabbath day—keep it holy. Six days you may labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath of the LORD your God.” — Exodus 20:8-10

What does it mean to be holy?

The Hebrew word for holy is “qadosh” which means “set apart.” 

That’s why when God calls us to be holy, He calls us to be set apart. He calls us to follow Him and not to conform to this world — through the food we eat, the places we go to, the things we read, the shows we watch, the things we do, the way we speak, and just the way we live our lives entirely.

So, when God tells us to keep the sabbath day holy, He tells us to set that day apart. It should be a day different from any other day.

It is a day we should set apart to thank God, to worship Him, to remember how He is always there with us, to acknowledge that everything comes from Him. It is a day we should set apart to pray more, to read His word, to know Him more, and to respond to His love through our faith.

But today, the Gospel also reveals to us the true essence of the sabbath:

Then [Jesus] said to them, “The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath.” — Mark 2:27

Just like the Law given to Moses, the true essence of the sabbath day is for us to love God and to love others. It is a day we can set apart to love God and our neighbors, our brothers and sisters from the same family of God, more.

Keeping the sabbath day holy or “set apart” breaks our routine. Instead of going to work and thinking about our own needs, the sabbath day gives us the time and the opportunity to think about the needs of others — especially those who are forgotten by society. 

The sabbath is a day we should set apart not only to feed our hunger — both physically and spiritually — but also to feed the hunger of others.

Today, let us ask ourselves, “Are we doing something to feed the hungry, both spiritually and physically?”

Then, let us act.


P.S. My answer to that question is, no. I’m not doing something to feed the hungry. At least, not yet. Not every post is something I already know or do. I’m learning together with you through. Through the daily Gospel readings, God is also inspiring me to take new action. Today, let us commit to doing something about the world’s physical and spiritual hunger — one person at a time. Every sabbath day, let us remember and renew this commitment. 

P.P.S. The TRAIN Law also lowered the taxes some of us are paying. This gives us more to spend not only for ourselves, but also for those in need. Let us remember those who were originally tax-exempt such as the minimum wage earners, the families of overseas workers, and those in extreme poverty who are only paying more for their basic needs, and not benefitting from the tax reform. Let us do our part in helping our brothers and sisters from the same family of God.