Why Do Catholics Have to Go to Mass Every Sunday?

For some Catholics, it’s tempting to stay in bed on Sunday morning watching the weekly football game or recovering from a Saturday party. It’s even easier to come up with supposedly legitimate excuses for not going to Mass. “Oh, I have work; The kids have soccer practice; I don’t feel very good.”

Holy MassSomewhere deep down, we remember being taught to go to Mass every Sunday because it’s an important thing to do. But we sometimes block that out of our minds. “People do far worse things,” we tell ourselves. “I’m a good person. Missing Mass doesn’t change that.”

What we don’t realize is that by skipping Mass, we are cutting ourselves off from God’s grace and the spiritual nourishment present in the Eucharist. We are, essentially, starving our spirit, which means that once our earthly lives pass, what will we have?

The Mass as Commandment and Precept of the Church

Not only does the Third Commandment state that we must honor the Sabbath, but attending Mass is also the first precept of the church.

“You shall attend Mass on Sundays and on holy days of obligation and rest from servile labor [to] sanctify the day commemorating the Resurrection of the Lord” (CCC: 2042).

We have the whole entire week to work, learn and have fun. God only asks for one hour on Sunday for us to offer Him worship and thanksgiving. Is that too much to ask? After all, it’s thanks to Him that we receive all of our blessings and our very lives.

Plus, it’s not like it’s hard to find a Mass time. Most churches have several Sunday morning Masses and a couple in the afternoon for those who prefer sleeping in. Many also offer a Sunday evening Mass if you miss the earlier ones. Finally, if you absolutely cannot make it on Sunday, you can attend the Saturday vigil Mass. God is very accommodating to us through His Holy Church, and we shouldn’t ignore how easy He has made it for us to praise and worship Him.

Receiving the Eucharist

Besides being mandatory, attending Mass and receiving the Eucharist is vital for our souls. The Eucharist, or Holy Communion, is the sacrament received by the faithful attending Mass. The Catechism of the Catholic Church describes the Eucharist as “thanksgiving and praise to the Father; the sacrificial memorial of Christ and His Body; the presence of Christ by the power of His word and of His Spirit” (CCC: 1358).

In short, through the Eucharist, we thank God for His work of creation, memorialize Christ’s Passover by re-presenting His sacrifice on the cross and celebrate Christ’s true presence in the consecrated bread and wine.

When we partake in the Eucharist, we are intimately united with Christ and feed our spiritual self. We eat several times per day to nourish our physical bodies; it’s the same principle with our spirit. Our entering into “Communion with the flesh of the risen Christ…preserves, increases, and renews the life of grace received at Baptism” (CCC: 1392).

The Eucharist also separates us from sin and preserves us from future mortal sins. By strengthening our bond with Christ after consuming His Body and Blood, we make it more difficult for sin to break that bond. Of course, we still must remember to confess any mortal sins before taking Holy Communion.

Finally, the Eucharist unites us with Catholics everywhere in Christ’s Body—the universal Church—and commits us to recognizing Christ in the poor. The unity created by the Eucharist is called the “Mystical Body of Christ,” and we need to remain part of that to have eternal life and enter heaven one day. When we fail to attend Mass, we separate ourselves from the Mystical Body of Christ and, thus, from salvation.

Attending Mass is literally a matter of spiritual life and death and not just something to take for granted each week. We wouldn’t have anything without God. Let us thank Him always and never cause ourselves to be separated from his love. Go to Mass!

To learn about why we do what we do at the Mass, check out Bishop Robert Barron’s series on the Mass through Flocknote.

Create a free account through Saint Mary Mokena at https://app.flocknote.com/StMary195, and you can access Bishop Barron’s videos through the Word on Fire library on the Flocknote homepage.

>See what our very own Father Dindo Billote says about attending Mass below.

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