Monday, July 02, 2012
Beyond Fear, Guilt, and the Force of Habit: A Year for Sunday Mass
Make no mistake about it. Going to Sunday Mass is a weighty obligation. The Third Commandment tells us: “Remember to keep holy the Lord’s day.” For Catholics that means celebrating Sunday Mass and observing Sabbath rest, so that we can pay attention to the deeper realities of our lives in God.
Sunday Mass also has to do with the First Commandment: “You shall not have false gods.” If we don’t worship God, we will end up worshipping something else, a false god that will claim the center of our lives. Look at the rampant addictions in our society, if you don’t believe me.
To say that participating in Sunday Mass is an obligation doesn’t mean that fear, guilt, or habit are the only or even most important motivators to get us to church on Sunday. The obligation stems from faith, hope, and love. Because we believe that in his death and resurrection Jesus saved us from sin and death and that he is our sustaining Bread of Life, we must participate in Sunday Mass. Because our lives involve struggle and we depend on the hope that only God can give us, we must renew that hope weekly at Sunday Mass. Because God’s love in Jesus Christ sustains us now and is our future destiny, we must celebrate and deepen that love through Sunday Mass.
Beginning now on July 1st, the Archdiocese of Chicago dedicates a year of our Strategic Pastoral Plan to Sunday Mass. Together, we will probe and discover the deepest reasons for our Sunday worship at Mass. Together, we understand the meaning of the Mass, especially the various actions within the Mass through a weekly feature entitled Know the Mass: One Word at a Time and through a Question of the Week. Finally, we will learn to pray better together, and to live out the holy mysteries that we celebrate.