Seventh day – the path to justice
Sunday – gift of God to all humanity
“I have given you six days to work, I have reserved the seventh and you don’t want to give it to me.”
Mary does not speak alone or to herself, she does so by participating in the mission of her Son, the Redeemer of the world. As a Servant of the Lord, Mary uses words that express God’s will to see men take seriously their duties of worship and adoration of God’s name. When she talks about six days, she reminds us of our mission to participate in creative action through work. Mary reminds us that the seventh day belongs to God. The seventh day that Mary reminds us of is not that of the Jews who celebrate the Sabbath, as stated in the Pentateuch, but Sunday, the day in which the Lord wanted to free us from the setbacks of work, from the vicious circle of production and consumerism, to make us aware that we are free people, endowed with a freedom that is God’s gift. The seventh day becomes a day of justice. We remember that the term “justice” appears in the Bible in different contexts and with nuances that indicate a meaning from time to time. In the Book of Genesis (Gen 15:6), we find the passage in which it is said that Abraham “believed in the Lord, who credited it as righteousness.”
“Justice” is the word that in the preaching of the prophets expresses in a more significant way the attitudes of the man called to responsible solidarity and fraternal sharing towards those who, in today’s society, are marginalized, weak, prisoners, defenseless and foreigners. Jesus declares the happiness of those who uphold justice: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for justice” (Mt 5:6). Man becomes righteous from the moment he makes himself available to God by listening and observing the word just as happened with the prophets, with Mary and with Joseph, her most chaste spouse, who in the Gospel of St. Matthew is called the “just man” (1:19). Appealing for the seventh day, Mary reminds us that we are “her children in Christ”; she reveals to us the intimate union of the Mother with the Son, her participation in her royalty; she shows us that this is the day of our justice before God because we gather to hear the word and to break the bread (Acts 20:7–12). Mary asks us today more than ever to return to submission to her son. Not submitting to Christ, says the Mother in tears, “is what makes my Son’s arm heavy.”
Creation: a gift to be worked, contemplated and enjoyed
When God created the world, on the first three days he called into existence the cosmos and the earth. Then on the three following days, he decorated these ambient, ending in the sixth day with the creation of man: male and female. On the seventh day he rested. Nevertheless, this was not a rest because God got tired with the work of his creation, but it was the rest God wanted in order to enjoy the wonders he had created. We can attribute to creation the transcendental qualities Saint Thomas had individualized (beauty, bounty and truth): The Universe and the earth are very beautiful, truly real and in a perfect harmony.
And if the days of creation point out the steps of time, not necessarily of 24 hours for each of us, then the last day – the seventh step – can last up to the end of the world. Because there is so much to be admired!
In this context wells up the word of the Beautiful Lady in the message: “I gave you six days to work; I kept the seventh for myself, and no one will give it to me.” If we interpretate this reproach from Mary in the context of rest, meant as admiration, then it would be right to utter here that song of praise She sang for the wonders of God accomplished in her life, the Magnificat: “My soul glorifies the Lord, for He has accomplished great things within me.”
It would be very unfair, if we considered that day only an obligation to take part to the Holy Sunday Mass. Thus, we forget that this is the day of grateful joy, shared with God in the admiration of the past week, of the existence of God’s world and of our participation in that time. Due to Jesus’ grace, we are able to push back the sad impression that life is ugly and full of hardships because of our sins, moreover we can contemplate and admire the beauty, the bounty and the truth we experienced during the six past days.
God keeps on working “big things” in the daily life of each one of us. If we cannot see that aspect of our life here on earth, then we will not even know the reason of our participation to the Holy Sunday Mass.
Mary, went to visit Elizabeth in order to share the joy of the Conception of God’s Son, she wishes to share that joy with each one of us, too. She wonts to help us to sing of joy as sons of God, conscious of the truth, of the bounty of the beauty which come from God. Let’s start, then, to take a rest in the admiration of the merciful God, who doesn’t get discouraged for the fact that we continue to ignore how to behave on Sundays. Let us follow the example of Mary and each Sunday Eucharist, along with her, let us give praise to God which is rightfully owed.
Eusébio Kangupe MS
Karol Porczak MS