Third Sunday of Lent

Sunday, March 3rd


Ex 20: 1-17
Ps 19: 8-11
1 Cor 1: 22-25
Jn 2: 13-25


“Remember to keep holy the sabbath day. Six days you may labor
and do all your work, but the seventh day
is the sabbath of the Lord, your God.”
Ex 20: 8-10

This is one of only two commandments that do not begin with “You shall not….” And as such, it is often left off our examination of conscience checklist as something we fell short of or someone we offended. Instead of commanding us to refrain from sins of idolatry, stealing, lying, envy, adultery, or stealing, this third commandment tells us do something: remember and make holy. Growing up, there was a definite routine to Sundays. After sleeping in a little later, we got dressed in our “church clothes” and went to Mass. Dinner was a bit more special than the rest of the week and frequently included other relatives around the table. Afternoon outings might include a trip to the cemetery, a visit with family or friends, a ball game, or some other out of the ordinary outing reserved for Sundays. Stores were closed and life’s pace slowed down. Although not necessarily described as “holy,” Sunday was definitely a day of gathering, celebration, remembrance, and rest.

Not coincidently, the other “You shall” commandment tells us to honor our parents, and it’s interesting that observing the sabbath is so closely related to spending quality time with family. Life is different today, and its pace has quickened. Sundays have frequently become a day to catch up on anything that didn’t get done during the week. The pandemic lockdown had us watching live-streamed Masses and keeping in touch with family via Zoom. Time may be at more of a premium in our busy lives, but we still should be intentional about how we live into the third commandment. And maybe the fourth commandment can be a reminder of how to keep the sabbath holy?


Loving God, thank you for the gift of life and all that sustains us every day. In the busy-ness of our week,
help us to pause, remember, and celebrate your goodness and mercy…recognizing that you are the source of all good things.

Personal Challenge

On this Sunday, dedicate some time to a person or activity that you name as “holy”…and thank God for it.

Jim Boyd, CSJ Associate
Chicago, IL

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