ASK FATHER: Is cooking on Sunday a sin?


I saw someone say that cooking on Sunday violates the third commandment and food for Sunday must be made before Sunday. Is this true ?


As much as we honor our Jewish forbears, we do not keep their strict laws about cooking and sabbath food preparation, bishul.

We should avoid on Sunday unnecessary work, or unnecessary drudgery.  If it is necessary we do it.

However, some things that are drudgery for one are a pleasure for another.  There are some people who would rather have starving rats chew through their faces while kneeling on glass in salt water while being tormented with horseflies and rap music than do any gardening.  This is my attitude toward ironing clothes.  Others enjoy gardening, and even ironing, find it relaxing and even meditative.

People should eat on Sundays.  We don’t have to do food prep according to rabbinic laws, which permitted some continuation of heat but forbade initiating, by Jews at least, the warming of anything.   Chopping vegetables could even have been considered forbidden work.    We don’t have these restrictions.  We can prep and cook and clean up afterward.   Having a family meal on Sunday is a wonderful thing.   A measure of cooking is involved.

If one can do some of the cooking and prep the day before to lighten the load, that’s not just okay for Sunday observance, that’s smart cooking.

Frankly, while cooking a large and complicated meal is a good deal of “work”, it is work I thoroughly enjoy and find therapeutic.

Catholics can cook on Sundays.

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3 Responses to ASK FATHER: Is cooking on Sunday a sin?

  1. ginnyfree says:

    I disagree. The Commandment says do no work on Sunday and that is the goal. I cook on Saturday and reheat on Sunday or eat cold stuff. I don’t do the dishes or take the trash. In fact, I do as little as possible on Sundays. I’ve read several Fathers on this matter and the most authoritative is St. Alphonsus Ligouri who is the Doctor of Moral Theology, that is his IS the last word on the subject if it regards the moral theology of the Church which this issue is covered by and according to him, any work beyond one hour is mortally sinful. The Catechism of Trent has a section on this and it concludes thusly: “But those who altogether neglect its fulfillment resist God and His Church; they heed not God’s command, and are enemies of Him and His holy laws, of which the easiness of the command is itself a proof. We should, it is true, be prepared to undergo the severest labor for the sake of God; but in this Commandment He imposes on us no labor; He only commands us to rest and disengage ourselves from worldly cares on those days which are to be kept holy. To refuse obedience to this Commandment is, therefore, a proof of extreme boldness; and the punishments with which its infraction has been visited by God, as we learn from the Book of Numbers,’ should be a warning to us. In order, therefore, to avoid offending God in this way, we should frequently ponder this word: Remember, and should place before our minds the important advantages and blessings which, as we have already seen, flow from the religious observance of holydays, and also numerous other considerations of the same tendency, which the good and zealous pastor should develop at considerable length to his people as circumstances may require.” God bless. Ginnyfree.


  2. Cooking can also be family time when a few people are happily helping. Also dad cooking a BBQ is mum’s time to relax! These days I find washing dishes relaxing- sad but true. The thing is that certain chores need completing for hygienic reasons before work the next day. But the vacuuming and dusting etc can wait and the priority is attending Mass and making some time to pray and reflect as well as enjoy the company of others.


  3. kathleen says:

    I agree with Father Z’s affirmation that “Catholics can cook on Sundays”. After all, it is not “labour” or “unnecessary work” to provide a cooked meal for the family who have come home together following Sunday Mass.

    When we were children we often used to discuss the readings of the day or comment on Father’s Sunday sermon during the Sunday meal. Our own father used to encourage us to read holy books or lives of the saints on Sunday afternoons, or sometimes we’d all sit down together to watch a film with a Cristian theme on the TV. No “work”as such was done, but we certainly were not pharasiacal in going about the commandment to “keep holy the Lord’s day”.

    It is sad that in so many parts of the former Christian world Sunday is no longer a day of rest dedicated to God… in fact it is often no different to any other day of the week.


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