Next Sunday, I’ll Be Going to Church. Where Will You Be?

Sunday’s coming.  Where will you be?

I got into a discussion recently with some good Catholic friends about going to church on Sunday.  To my surprise, several of them had recently failed to fulfill their Sunday obligation to attend Mass.

 

I’m pretty sure this is not a unique phenomenon among believers, even among those who consider themselves faithful Catholics.

  • Sometimes, people will explain away their having missed the Sunday liturgy:  They had a headache; or they were out late the night before; or they have company coming; or [eye roll] they can pray just as well on the golf course….
  • Sometimes, it comes down to something the parish is doing wrong:  The homilies are boring, or the church is ugly, or the music is not to your liking, or no one ever talks to you, or the air conditioning isn’t working properly.

LET’S TALK ABOUT THIS!


See, I think we (Catholics, that is) need to rethink our reason for attending Mass.
 Some Protestants I know go church-hopping because they want [choose one:  better fellowship, or a popular speaker, or a great youth program, or ….]  But for a Catholic, these are nice but are essentially window dressing.  I mean, JESUS IS THERE, AND HE COMES TO US!

There are two other reasons we MUST be there:

FIRST, God commands us to keep holy the Lord’s Day.  To be more specific:  Jesus founded His Church, and He authorized His Church to represent Him here on earth; and the Catholic Church tells us that this–attendance at Sunday Mass–is the way we must keep the day holy.  If you agree that Jesus founded the Catholic Church and delegated Peter and his successors to run it, then you must recognize the legitimate authority of the Church to make rules which are intended for our good.

That means you acknowledge that the Catholic Church was founded by Christ Himself, and was appointed as His representative on earth, until He comes in glory. There’s gotta be someone in charge, and when the Catholic Church says “This is how we understand the Third Commandment” and imposes a requirement, you must acknowledge her authority.

Whether you benefit personally on that particular day, whether you like the liturgy and the music (and believe me, I don’t always!), whether the homily is good, you are there to worship because the Catholic Church tells you you must be there.

If you screw up and miss, will God forgive you? I think so. But still, again, if you’re Catholic…. attendance at Mass every Sunday is mandated, under penalty of mortal sin.  You are required to worship God, and you are required to do it in that particular way:  by attending Sunday Mass.  Get out of bed and get over there!

SECOND, It’s the best deal in town for us!  Peter asked, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”  That’s true–Where else can you go to hear the words of Christ, and to join with Him so intimately, to let Him come into you and transform you, leading you to greater holiness?

I remember once hearing a radio broadcast featuring Rosalind Moss, the former Catholic Answers apologist who founded a new religious order, the Daughters of Mary, Mothers of Israel’s Hope.   Rosalind was recounting an imaginary conversation with a young woman who had left the Catholic Church for another denomination–preferring the music and the women’s groups and the social activities for the kids.  I don’t remember all the details, but essentially, Jesus asked her, “But which of these things would you choose over Me?”  

And that’s the heart of it:  At Mass, Christ is truly present–Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity.  He gives Himself to us in the reading of the Word, and in the Eucharist.  That happens even when the homily is boring, when the cantor is off-key, when the church is only half-filled.  “Whenever two are three are gathered in My name,” Jesus reminds us, “there I am in the midst of them.”  In the Mass, that is even more true, because we have the unimaginable opportunity to unite wholly and fully with Him in the Eucharist.

 

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  • captcrisis

    You can say that “Jesus is there” at Mass, and it might be true, but no one ACTS like it’s true. That’s the problem.

    • Victor

      ((( You can say that “Jesus is there” at Mass, and it might be true, but no one ACTS like it’s true. That’s the problem. )))

      I don’t think that I would go as far as to say that… no one ACTS like it’s true… I think it is just that many of us Catholic are in a kind of spiritual reality crisis running around like a chicken with our heads cut off probably because a LOT of US (usual sinners) “I” mean a a lot of us Catholics are starting to believe that we’ve lost our cap, “I” mean our captain…

      Like Manny said, God willing, I’ll be at Mass too and I must also say that it is not always on Sundays but i know that God will still Love me if my heart considers Saturday’ vigil as a Sunday… Far for me to ever go off topic but if Kathy Schiffer will permit me, I would like to thank Rebecca Hamilton for having taken away a comment that i had allowed sinner vic to write through me… I have saved that comment just in case my paranoia… enough of that…

      As I was about to say, “I” honestly believe that “I” could write on and on with the truth that sinner vic tells me but to tell YAS all the truth, at this time, I just can’t bring myself to believe that sinner vic is not out to start a panic so forgive me sinner vic butt my Canadian “Q” card tells me at this time that YA really don’t have any kind of spiritual reality phone line to “The Holy Spirit” so I’ll just ask MAN, “I” mean Manny and all our other Sis and Bros in Peter to keep praying for this often Annoying Super Sinner and by the way I also did send an email to my good Bishop asking him to do the same so hang in there good people.

      Peace be with YAS!

  • God willing, I’ll be at Mass too. If there is something conflicting with my normal Mass time, I’ll switch to another or go to the Saturday vigil. Between the Saturday vigil, four different Sunday morning times, and a Sunday evening, my church offers an incredible flexibility. I suspect most Catholic Churches offer the same. Good homily Kathy!

  • A.T.

    What’s the point of going if you don’t live near a validly ordained/consecrated priest/bishop who rejects vatican 2?the men ordained/consecrated after June 1968 are invalid & no better than a layman.If they celebrate vatican 2 mass, you aren’t receiving the body of Christ.If all you can attend is the paul vi mass with an invalid clergy,you’re better off staying home and saying 15 decade rosary.