Father Martin's Reflections
I would like to share with you what the church teaches us about Sunday attendance.
This third Easter Sunday the gospel invites us to discover the presence of Christ in the Eucharistic celebration.
The primary way in which we celebrate the Lord’s Day is with our participation in the Sunday Eucharist. What better way to celebrate the Resurrection of the Lord than by celebrating 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 (CCC) teaches that “participation in the communal celebration of the Sunday Eucharist is a testimony of belonging and of being faithful to Christ and to his Church” (CCC, no. 2182). 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 Sunday’s 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.” (CCC, no. 2179, quoting St. John Chrysostom, De incomprehensibili 3, 6: PG 48, 725)
Hope to see you on Sunday!