“This day is at the same time One and Eighth, One because the life to come is One, without succession, without decline, and eighth because the world to come will follow this world, which is symbolized but the number seven. … As the first creation begun on a first day, so the second creation begins too the same day, which is at the same time first regarding the days which come after, and eighth regarding the days before, more sublime that the sublime day, more admirable than the admirable day.” Gregory of Naziance
Why we celebrate on Saturday evening the “Entry into Sunday”
Certainly not to imitate the Jews with the Welcoming of the Shabbat, it would be an offense to the Shabbat and a false understanding of the Sunday. The aim is to express the deep relation which exists between the Shabbat and the Sunday, between the 7th day and what the Fathers of the Church and the whole Christian tradition calls the 8th day. It is not “by chance” if Jesus rose from the dead “after the Shabbat” when “the first day of the week” was just dawning
Let us quote the Mishna (Tamid 7,4)
“Psalm, canticle for the Shabbat day ( Ps 92,1), for the day which will be all Shabbat and rest in the world to come.”
The Resurrection of Jesus introduces us in this day, which is beyond time and yet still in time.
How to celebrate?
Each community can find its own way to celebrate it. The importance is to mention it, to acknowledge, this precious time with a special prayer and a festive meal.
- The first rite can be to light a candle in sign of the Resurrection. I can share a blessing which tends to express what I have mentioned above
- Then read one or two of the Sunday readings and share on it
- Sings appropriate hymns
- To give a taste (with an icone for instance or other symbol or sign)’ of the liturgical time
- Then open the meal with a blessing on the food.
The ideal is to open it to friends because the Sunday is a Church Day, a community Day, the Day of sisterhood and brotherhood in Christ.
Blessing on the light
Lord, in this evening of the seventh day,
At the end of Shabbat,
When the Jewish people separates this Holy day
From the ordinary days of the week,
We enter into the eighth day,
The day when Jesus rose from the dead.
This day which is also called “day one”*,
Remembering the first day of Creation
When light was separated from darkness. AMEN
It is the sign of the day when your Creation
Will enter the “Shalom” of your Kingdom
And when all your children, reconciled, will be gathered in Unity. AMEN
With the Jewish people,
With all the Christians of the world,
With the whole humankind, we pray.
May we prepare together
The coming of your Kingdom
Of justice, peace and love. AMEN
Blessed are you, Lord
Who has created the light.
You are the light in which we see light. AMEN
Sr Anne-Catherine Avril NDS, Ein-Kerem
* In the Hebrew text of Genesis 1,5, it is written: Day One, and not First Day