We are all aware of the decreasing number of Catholics even in our own parish who do not participate in the Eucharist each week.
As Catholic Christians, the Eucharist is the primary way in which we celebrate the Lord’s Day, Sunday. At mass we celebrate the Resurrection of the Lord, the celebration of the memorial of his Passion, death and Resurrection.
This celebration is not a solitary, private event. Instead, we come together as the People of God, the Church, to worship with one heart and one voice. The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that “participation in the communal celebration of the Sunday Eucharist is a testimony of belonging and of being faithful to Christ and his Church.”
When members of our church community are absent from this gathering, they are missed. No member of the faithful should be absent from the Sunday Eucharist without a serious reason. The Liturgy should be the first thing on our Sunday schedule, not the last. We should arrive on time, prepared in mind and heart to fully participate in the Mass. Those who cannot attend because of illness or the need to care for infants or the sick deserve our prayers and special attention.
Often, people will suggest that going to Sunday Mass is not necessary. After all, they can pray at home just as well. This has clearly been an issue in the Church for more than a millennium. In the Fourth Century, St. John Chrysostom addressed this problem directly:
“You cannot pray at home as at church, where there is a great multitude, where exclamations are cried out to God as from one great heart, and where there is something more; the union of minds, the accord of souls, the bond of charity, the prayers of the priests.” P
rivate prayer, though essential to the spiritual life, can never replace the celebration of the Eucharistic Liturgy and the reception of Holy Communion.
Let us fight the temptation during these beautiful summer months to become lax in our Sunday Obligation and recommit ourselves to our weekly Sunday gathering.