Katrina Fernandez this week puts her finger on a subjectthat too many Catholics don’t understand—and that too many clergy find too unpleasant to bring up:
Folks, it’s in the Ten Commandments: “Remember keep holy the Lord’s Day.” Of course if you are cripplingly ill or your car breaks down, or your children are small and ill, and you have absolutely no family or friends who can watch your children for an hour or give you a ride to church and just got robbed so you can’t afford cab fare … then, yes, the first statement would apply. Outstanding circumstances aside, let it be stated for all those with eyes to read: missing Mass actually is a mortal sin. …Missing Sunday Mass is a mortal sin. Period, full stop.
Read it all. And pass it around. With Sunday Mass attendance continuing to slide, and numbers continuing to dwindle, and a lot of folks spending these last weeks of summer on vacation, people need to hear this and understand this. And we need to make it a priority. This goes ahead of that date at the beach, that life-or-death soccer practice the kids just have to attend, and that tailgate party for the football game.
As the catechism makes plain:
The Sunday obligation
2180 The precept of the Church specifies the law of the Lord more precisely: “On Sundays and other holy days of obligation the faithful are bound to participate in the Mass.” “The precept of participating in the Mass is satisfied by assistance at a Mass which is celebrated anywhere in a Catholic rite either on the holy day or on the evening of the preceding day.” 2181 The Sunday Eucharist is the foundation and confirmation of all Christian practice. For this reason the faithful are obliged to participate in the Eucharist on days of obligation, unless excused for a serious reason (for example, illness, the care of infants) or dispensed by their own pastor.Those who deliberately fail in this obligation commit a grave sin. (Emphasis added) 2182 Participation in the communal celebration of the Sunday Eucharist is a testimony of belonging and of being faithful to Christ and to his Church. The faithful give witness by this to their communion in faith and charity. Together they testify to God’s holiness and their hope of salvation. They strengthen one another under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. 2183“If because of lack of a sacred minister or for other grave cause participation in the celebration of the Eucharist is impossible, it is specially recommended that the faithful take part in the Liturgy of the Word if it is celebrated in the parish church or in another sacred place according to the prescriptions of the diocesan bishop, or engage in prayer for an appropriate amount of time personally or in a family or, as occasion offers, in groups of families.”
We’ve become very squishy about all of this, I fear. There is the mistaken notion that because the Church has adjusted the rules about abstaining from meat on Fridays, and sidelined a few saints, and re-examined the notion of Limbo and so on that Sunday Mass attendance is, likewise, something you can let slide.
No. Don’t be a wimp. Offer an hour of your week to God and be grateful you have that hour, and so many more, to give glory to The One who gave you life.
And, if that’s not enough to get you into the pews, then remember this:
“Those who deliberately fail in this obligation commit a grave sin.”
Check out Katrina’s post. You can’t say you didn’t know.