Work on Sunday; Buying a Grill

Hi everyone,

I have a question for you all:

My family wanted me to practice driving today, but they wanted me to go to the Home Depot to buy a grill for Father’s Day, which I didn’t want to do, because it’s Sunday, and traditionally, buying big pieces of furnature (like a grill) and moving it around is servile work, and is consequently forbidden. I talked to a priest today after Mass and he told me that servile work is still forbidden since it’s the basic laws of the Sabbath.

My parents were very annoyed and started asking me, “is this forbidden?” in a sort of nasty way, and I said no (it was emptying my grandmother’s commode, and driving).

I should mention that my parents and brother aren’t really that religious, in that they don’t really go to Mass or the sacraments (my brother hasn’t been baptized). I’m the only one of the four of us who is really practicing (I’m a convert on my own).

Did I act improperly?

Benedicat Deus,

What do you think will do the most to attract your family to the faith: sticking your nose in the air while saying “that’s beneath me and inappropriate on a Sunday” or cheerfully helping with your family’s activities in order to honor your father next week. Which person would you rather be with?

I thought about this, and I tried not to be harsh about it, but I’m not willing to offend God for the sake of my family. We could have bought the grill tomorrow, really - it wasn’t necessary to buy it on Sunday.

Benedicat Deus,

Would God be offended by your joining your family in buying a Father’s Day gift? I thought he was rather in favor of honoring your parents.

But doing so on Sunday when it involves physical labor when it isn’t necessary? We could have bought it tomorrow just as well.

Thanks, however, for your considerations.

Benedicat Deus,

Please be careful that your reasons for not purchasing a grill on Sunday is not based in something else. Your attitude seems to indicate that an that is being picked up by others in your family. Lets be honest and admit that you just don’t want to be bothered by the whole thing.
There is nothing that will drive others away from the faith and cause hate and discontent in a family more, than someone being sanctimonious in excusing their actions.

I have a question if you do not mind, do not take it as insult or detraction on you, but what is your understanding of “Servile labour”

I will tell you my understanding. Servile labour is work for which I will be compensated.

Now washing the dishes for my wife on Sunday or taking out the trash on Sunday.
I do not consider them “Servile labour”. Neither is my wife’s cooking the meals for us.
And sometimes you need to run to the supermarket because you forgot you had run out of this or that to prepare the meal. I hate having to go out but what is the alternative?
Remember what Jesus taught us about the Sabbath (The rest day);

Mark 2:27
And he said to them: “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.

Maybe I should tell my employer that on Saturday nights (most of which I work on Sunday) I can’t reposition my bed bound patients who are MUCH larger than I am because of servile labor, or change them if they are incontinent, or dress them if they need to be gotten up that day.
I guess bedsores and sitting in your waste is better, somehow. :shrug:

You should balance your faith with good works. You should have accommidted them. Most big stores will help you with any heavy purchase. You missed your chance to share the joy of being with your family and giving them some pleasure. Remember the parable of saving the donkey on Sunday? Don’t remind me; I can’t spell.

I think God might have been more offended by you disobeying your parents. Who are you to decide when to buy your father’s present?

It was simply a family activity that your parents wanted you to participate in. There’s no harm in it and you were with your folks, you were being respectful to them.

I cut back an overgrown thorny shrub in the front garden yesterday evening, which was also impinging on the carpark of a neighbouring hairdressing business. My husband helped me with the parts I couldn’t reach. To me that’s not servile work, we’re just taking care of our home and being respectful to our neighbours (I didn’t get paid for it, that’s for sure!).

Does getting paid work executed on a Sunday in one’s own house/office break the Sabbath rule?
If I am an employer, can I ask my employees to come in on a Sunday to meet some important deadline?
If I am a householder, can I schedule housekeeping/carpentry/plumbing/electrical work with the concerned service providers on a Sunday, since I’m not available at home during the rest of the week?

Also, this whole “No work for money on Sunday crowd” better not need medical attention that day, be admitted to the hospital because there is a possibility that the staff would have to care for you on a Sunday.:eek:
Heck, let’s have the police and firefighters all off on Sundays. Crime, fire, and wrecks never happen on Sunday. Speaking of wrecks, no paramedics working either. Sorry your dad fell and hit his first alert necklace for help, those operators that should answer are off, so are those who are dispachers. You know, those guys who answer when you dial 911.
Heaven forbid there is a storm and the power company and tree trimers are working to clear roads and turn your power back on. Heck, meteorologist are getting paid, no guy on the TV to tell you which way the tornado is headed on Sundays

I don’t think the OP was merely asking about ALL manner of work on Sundays. OP just inquired as to whether what OP’s actions were improper.

Making purchases that are not immediately necessary to life can wait for another day. Purchases of food or medicine are acceptable on Sundays as they serve to sustain life.

OP – you are the minority in your family, so you will inevitably meet with obstacles. You were respectful towards your family and explained your reasoning which is perfectly acceptable.

Making it clear that you will gladly purchase the grill on a weekday will show your family that you are not trying to be difficult, or holier than thou, or unrealistic.

The 3rd Commandment applies to unnecessary servile work. It’ doesn’t obviously include those in the medical field, police officers, firefighters, etc.

It does however apply to those who choose to do leisure things instead of giving proper worship to God where they miss Sunday Mass because of it. Maintaining the cleanliness of the house and cooking are acceptable. To reserve specific manual projects (ie.: painting the house or cleaning the gutters, etc.) to do on Sunday is not acceptable as God created the Sabbath for man and not man for the Sabbath. He LOVES us and wants us to rest and use the other days for work.

Now, with that said, I don’t know your age and I don’t know if you are still subject to your parents’ rules. If you are underage (younger than 18), which I assume you are as you are “practicing” driving, then picking up the grill may have been under the requirements to obey your parents. Honoring thy father and mother requires you to obey them as a child living under their roof provided they are not demanding you to commit an aggregious sin. You would be obeying their request and not simply choosing to shop on Sunday because ***you ***wanted to.

Sometimes obedience to our superiors is more acceptable to God than is our own will.



Participate in the life of your family.
God’s ok with it.

I didn’t do any shopping or planting flowers in the garden on Sunday. :thumbsup:

All I did was have an hour’s worth of relaxing sex with my boyfriend…so I didn’t break the Sabbath. :rolleyes:

What a good Catholic I am! :eek:

Try following the Catechism, instead of trying to show your family how superior you are. :frowning:
There wouldn’t have been anything wrong in helping to honor your father.

Hello Latinitas - It is hard to balance our religious beliefs when living in a secular world. I can see you are trying to find a balance (good for you!)

When in these situations, pray for your family and offer up your suffering for their conversion. God realizes that we have to serve others in many different ways. Be Jesus to your family.:slight_smile:

Latinitas, I have read and re-read your post and I think some of the people who have responded to you have clearly misread your tone. They have accused you of being holier than thou. I understand that you are seeking guidance here and I see no contextual “tone” or “attitude” in your post, just an honest question about what you should do, because you don’t know. Shame on the others who have ridiculed Latinitas.

We come here because we have questions and are seeking answers and guidance, not ridicule. Does everyone here know everything about God’s word, the Catechism and precisely how to interpret every word? I sure don’t and I wouldn’t have wanted to receive some of the answers provided. Maybe I’m misreading them, maybe I’m not.

I believe maybe some of the posters may have misread that you replied in a nasty way, when instead it was your parents responding nastily “is this forbidden”.

Latinitas, you are right in that servile work is forbidden, but what does that constitute? When you read the CCC, as one poster says, those who are in the medical profession and the like are allowed to work on Sunday’s because it is necessary. But as another poster said, postponing work like painting and so forth until Sunday would also be forbidden because we do not allow time for God. Forcing others to work (going shopping) also is forbidden, because you have caused another to commit the sin of working on the Sabbath.

It gets tricky because you are trying to fulfill two commandments, honor your mother and father, and obey the Sabbath. I think the other posters should have realized that. I think you did the right thing by telling them how you feel without being holier than thou and expressing that you would do it during the week.

In the '50s & '60s there weren’t any stores open on Sunday! Things changed and they are all open.
After working all week, Sunday may be the only time to shop or paint your house.
Some people find shopping, relaxing & a form of entertainment. If you attend Mass in the morning, why can’t you get things you need in the afternoon or do some work around the house that you can’t get to during the week?

When I was working at AT&T, I sometimes worked on a Sunday, since it paid double time…but I always went to Mass on Saturday night or Sunday night.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit