Summer Sunday Mass: Obligation or Option?

51772329

By Father Michael Van Sloun – Special for The Catholic Spirit

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Sunday is the Lord’s Day. Jesus rose from the dead on Sunday morning, so Sunday is reserved as the “Lord’s Day,” the day to remember the Resurrection and to offer our praise and worship. Sunday is the Christian “Sabbath,” a shift from the Jewish Sabbath that runs from sunset on Friday to sunset on Saturday. God gave us the Third Commandment as a solemn obligation, not a suggestion or an option: “Keep holy the Sabbath day (Ex 20:8-11; Dt 5:12-15) (see the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Numbers 2174 – 2178).

Regular Sunday worship dates back to the first generation of the Church. Early Christians instinctively gathered to study the teachings of the apostles and to break the bread (Acts 2:42). The Letter to the Hebrews gets straight to the point: “We should not stay away from our assembly [i.e., the liturgical assembly, the Eucharist], as is the custom of some” (Heb 10:25).

I’m shocked by the number of people who have told me that they believe they are excused from Sunday Mass when they are on vacation or traveling. This is not the case! Church teaching is clear: “On Sundays the faithful are bound to participate in the Mass” (Canon 1247).

There are a few legitimate reasons to miss Sunday Mass: illness or disability, serving as the sole caregiverfor someone in need of constant attention, a natural disaster like a flood or a blizzard, or the absence of a priest. There is no exception for vacation or traveling {Catechism, Nos. 2180-2188).

All we have is a gift from God, so God is entitled to our weekly thanks. Time is a precious commodity, and how we spend it is a clear indication of our priorities. There are one hundred and sixty-eight (168) hours in a week, and one hour spent in worship barely puts a dent in the praise that we owe our God.

We need to put first things first, and for Christians, God comes first! If there ever was a time that God deserves extra thanks, it would be vacation time. It is a huge blessing to be able to take time off, to have the resources to travel, to have the wherewithal to enjoy a cabin or a RV or a lake home, to be blessed with the beauty of the lakes and the forests, and to have the leisure time to spend with family and friends.

The common error is to make recreational activities the starting point in building one’s weekend vacation schedule, and to relegate God and Mass to an afterthought, something to fit in if there is time left over or to be skipped entirely. The proper way is to decide on a Mass time and place first and then figure outthe rest of the weekend’s activities. Let us remain ever mindful: “It is right to give God thanks and praise!”

Source: The Catholic Spirit

Summer Sunday Mass: Obligation or Option? Print E-mail
By Father Michael Van Sloun – Special for The Catholic Spirit
Tuesday, 23 June 2009
Sunday is the Lord’s Day. Jesus rose from the dead on Sunday morning, so Sunday is reserved as the “Lord’s Day,” the day to remember the Resurrection and to offer our praise and worship. Sunday is the Christian “Sabbath,” a shift from the Jewish Sabbath that runs from sunset on Friday to sunset on Saturday. God gave us the Third Commandment as a solemn obligation, not a suggestion or an option: “Keep holy the Sabbath day (Ex 20:8-11; Dt 5:12-15) (see the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Numbers 2174 – 2178).

Regular Sunday worship dates back to the first generation of the Church. Early Christians instinctively gathered to study the teachings of the apostles and to break the bread (Acts 2:42). The Letter to the Hebrews gets straight to the point: “We should not stay away from our assembly [i.e., the liturgical assembly, the Eucharist], as is the custom of some” (Heb 10:25).

I’m shocked by the number of people who have told me that they believe they are excused from Sunday Mass when they are on vacation or traveling. This is not the case! Church teaching is clear: “On Sundays the faithful are bound to participate in the Mass” (Canon 1247).

There are a few legitimate reasons to miss Sunday Mass: illness or disability, serving as the sole caregiverfor someone in need of constant attention, a natural disaster like a flood or a blizzard, or the absence of a priest. There is no exception for vacation or traveling {Catechism, Nos. 2180-2188).

All we have is a gift from God, so God is entitled to our weekly thanks. Time is a precious commodity, and how we spend it is a clear indication of our priorities. There are one hundred and sixty-eight (168) hours in a week, and one hour spent in worship barely puts a dent in the praise that we owe our God.

We need to put first things first, and for Christians, God comes first! If there ever was a time that God deserves extra thanks, it would be vacation time. It is a huge blessing to be able to take time off, to have the resources to travel, to have the wherewithal to enjoy a cabin or a RV or a lake home, to be blessed with the beauty of the lakes and the forests, and to have the leisure time to spend with family and friends.

The common error is to make recreational activities the starting point in building one’s weekend vacation schedule, and to relegate God and Mass to an afterthought, something to fit in if there is time left over or to be skipped entirely. The proper way is to decide on a Mass time and place first and then figure outthe rest of the weekend’s activities. Let us remain ever mindful: “It is right to give God thanks and praise!”

About these ads

3 Responses to Summer Sunday Mass: Obligation or Option?

  1. paul stalter says:

    we live in a resort area . it is 25 miles to the nearest church . we use to have a retired priest who said in home masses for us . he died . we tried to get the pastor to send someone down but it is alot to put on him we have a chapel in the area we could use if we could get a priest it holds about 300 . which in season we could get .can we use a deacon ? we were told no but without a priest there are alot of people not willing drive 1 hour each way or better after just driving 8-10 hours .they feel God will understand.i talked to our deacon and he is willing to come down . the pastor said he can’t do a comunual service if there is a priest around ????? we are in the outer banks in nc . what is the rule on a deacon doing a communial service if a priest can not make it here ???

  2. Nan says:

    The Deacon’s role is to help and to serve the priest. It isn’t up to his discretion to do a Communion Service if the pastor says no.

  3. The secret is that the hotel you can go stay in a major way for you to have in custody or trading experience positive or negative depending on the amount of ‘room service is especially the location of the hotel.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 93 other followers

%d bloggers like this: